Auckland Airport GM Customer and Aeronautical Commercial Scott Tasker talks about the comeback of tourism and how Auckland Airport is preparing for the influx of people. Video / NZ Herald
About 1600 aviation jobs are vacant, prompting Auckland Airport to warn of a travel crisis over the summer.
Jobs available include flight attendant, airline check-in, baggage handler, security, airport operations and emergency services to qualified
Occupations, roles in infrastructure development, roles in government agencies, retail assistants, hotel workers, chefs, baristas, cleaners and waste disposal workers.
The airport says that with so many vacancies across the airport system, travelers may face longer waits when flying this summer, despite a successful mid-year job fair.
As the peak Christmas travel season approaches, Auckland Airport Managing Director Carrie Hurihanganui is asking travelers to plan ahead and be at the airport early as there can be additional queues and delays on departures and arrivals in New Zealand.
“If you are traveling this Christmas, we ask that you be patient as unfortunately there may be longer wait times,” she said.
Air New Zealand is facing a surge in demand and will carry 2.8 million passengers between December 15 and January 31 next year. This compares to 1.1million last summer when there were Covid restrictions.
The airline says it will operate with a sharp rise in bookings and at pre-Covid levels over the summer.
Hurihanganui said many airport companies that once relied on seasonal workers to bolster their teams during the summer peak and immigration played an important role in alleviating staff pressures.
“Labor shortages are a consistent story across many industries, and the airport system is not the only one feeling the effects of labor shortages and the impact on its customers.”
Some travelers have complained of lengthy delays at customs and Ministry of Basic Industry inspections when multiple flights arrive at the same time. Flights are usually staggered but problems at overseas airports have at times resulted in cascading problems as they arrive here at the same time.
Business groups have called for lifting restrictions on hiring overseas workers and processing migrant workers more efficiently.
Cath O’Brien, Executive Director of the Board of Airline Representatives, said vacancies for airport positions are difficult to fill due to unsocial shift hours and the lack of public transport making the airport difficult to access.
The return of migrant workers has also been delayed because of the cost of a still-limited number of flights to that country and the high cost of living upon arrival, she said.
Hurihanganui said the job fair provided a welcome boost to the recruitment drive of major airport employers, which filled more than 500 positions, or 17 percent of available positions, at the time of the one-day event.
“We are pleased with the way the July job fair went and the conversion rate achieved, but organizations across the airport system continue to struggle to fill thousands of positions,” she said.
They have been critical roles in helping the airport ecosystem function smoothly.
“Travel has rebounded sharply after the borders reopened and these companies are clamoring for employees from entry-level to senior positions,” Hurihanganui said.
The July job fair offered more than 4000 job seekers the opportunity to get in touch with 30 major airport employers who had around 3000 vacancies at the time.
“We will continue to work with our airport partners and also consider the possibility of a second job fair in 2023.”
The airport company currently has 67 positions to fill, including dozens in operations and infrastructure.
“Auckland Airport is starting to be vibrant again and is a vibrant and dynamic place to work with literally hundreds of exciting job opportunities,” said Hurihanganui.
“If you’re someone who loves travel and the general aviation industry, it’s a great time to join the many teams that operate at Auckland Airport.”
This month, international seating capacity at Auckland Airport has returned to around 70 per cent of pre-Covid levels and domestic seating capacity will have returned to around 90 per cent of pre-Covid levels. Eighty-one percent of retail and food and beverage locations in the international terminal are open.