Home Uncategorized Breaking news: Surprise Walkout by Ground Handling Workers at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport Affects All Flights

Breaking news: Surprise Walkout by Ground Handling Workers at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport Affects All Flights

by Gurseet Singh
6 minutes read

HELSINKI: Helsinki-Vantaa Airport currently needs to grapple with an unanticipated desertion by ground handling staff, throwing all flight operations into disarray. An estimated 500 workers affiliated with IAU’s Civil Air Traffic Workers branch 012, under the wing of the Aviation Union, have abruptly abandoned their duties. This prominent workforce, hailing from Aviator Airport Services Finland, Swissport Finland, and RTG Ground Handling, is vital for maintaining a well-oiled airport operation.

The flash strike, as unforeseen as it might appear, was sparked by a contentious decision taken by Finnair. Earlier today, the airline unilaterally decided to revoke its policy of issuing zone flight tickets, a perquisite akin to an employment benefit, to ground handling staff employed by its partnering companies, the IAU conveyed via a press release.

An announcement across the airport aptly captures the ensuing chaos, “Please bear with us as baggage delivery is unavoidably delayed due to the absence of ground handling staff. We deeply regret the inconvenience caused.”

Speaking about the sudden turn of events, Sami Rajala, Union Secretary from IAU, conveyed cautious optimism, hinting at their expectation for the duty-bound workers to resume their posts by their subsequent shifts. “The situation is still unfolding and our internal probe is ongoing. It’s too early to make a definitive comment,” commented Rajala.

While Rajala holds back on imparting concrete details about the potential ripple effect across other Finnish airports, he is unwavering about the walkout’s considerable impact on Helsinki-Vantaa. “I am unable to provide a comprehensive forecast at this moment, but there’s no denying the substantial disruption in flights across all operators at Helsinki-Vantaa, not just Finnair,” affirmed Rajala.

Finavia, in its official communication, acknowledged the considerable disturbance to baggage handling inflicted by the walkout. Incoming passengers might have to brave extended baggage delivery times and face check-in delays. “It’s important to remember that airlines are accountable for passengers’ baggage. We urge all travelers to get in touch with their respective airlines for any luggage-related issues,” read the statement.

Before this unrest, the ground crew cherished zone flight tickets’ privilege, enabling them to buy discounted flight tickets when unsold seats were up for grabs on a particular flight.

Inevitably, the airport started brimming with restless flyers right after the walkout was in full swing at 3 P.M.

Airlines are responsible for managing passengers’ luggage at the airport.
Finnair has requested that passengers communicate with their respective airlines regarding baggage-related concerns. Passengers with only carry-on luggage who have already checked in are advised to head directly to the security check and their departure gates.
A press release from the Finnish Aviation Union (IAU) states that the strike was an unplanned response to Finnair’s decision to discontinue providing Zonal Employee Discount vouchers to ground staff employees, which could have been used for flight ticket price reductions.
Finavia, while not directly involved in the issue, has expressed regret for any inconvenience caused to passengers. The operator also mentioned needing more information about how long the situation might last.

Finnair has announced the cancellation of these flights scheduled for September 19, 2023:

  • Helsinki – Oulu (AY441/2)
  • Helsinki – Keflavik (AY993/2)
  • Helsinki – Budapest (AY1255/6)
  • Helsinki – Milan (AY1755/6)
  • Helsinki – Zürich (AY1513/4)
  • Helsinki – Joensuu (AY345/6)
  • Helsinki – Riga (AY1075/6)
  • Helsinki – Kajaani (AY415/6)
  • Helsinki – Vilnius (AY1105/6)
  • Helsinki – Tallinn (AY1023/4)
  • Helsinki – Vaasa (AY315/6)
  • Helsinki – Kuopio (AY369/70)
  • Helsinki – Edinburgh (AY1373/4)
  • Helsinki – Hamburg (AY1425/6)
  • Helsinki – Düsseldorf (AY1395/6)
  • Helsinki – Oslo (AY915/6)
  • Helsinki – Stockholm Arlanda (AY815/6)
  • Helsinki – Dublin (AY1385/6)
  • Kokkola – Kemi – Helsinki (AY632)
  • Helsinki – Paris (AY1581)
  • Helsinki – Brussels (AY1549)
  • Helsinki – Copenhagen (AY961)

Finnair has announced the cancellation of these flights scheduled for September 20, 2023:

  • Paris – Helsinki (AY1582)
  • Brussels – Helsinki (AY1550)
  • Copenhagen – Helsinki (AY961)

Key Facts

  • An unanticipated walkout by ground handling staff disrupts Helsinki-Vantaa Airport operations.
  • Approximately 500 workers from IAU’s Civil Air Traffic Workers branch 012 are involved, impacting all flights.
  • Aviator Airport Services Finland, Swissport Finland, and RTG Ground Handling employ workers.
  • Finnair’s unilateral decision to cease zone flight tickets, acting as employment benefits, for ground handling staff triggers spontaneous protest.
  • Airport notification announces delay in baggage delivery and offers an apology for inconveniences caused.
  • Union Secretary Sami Rajala from IAU expects workers to return by their following shifts.
  • The extent of the walkout’s impact on other Finnish airports remains uncertain, but Helsinki-Vantaa is significantly affected.
  • Finavia states that the walkout primarily affects baggage handling, leading to possible delays in delivery and check-in.
  • Passengers are encouraged to contact their respective airlines for luggage-related inquiries.
  • Zone tickets allowed ground staff to purchase discounted tickets when unsold seats were available.
  • Airport crowding ensued immediately after the walkout started at 3 P.M.

You may also like

Leave a Comment