Airline staff shortages cause huge delays at Bucharest’s Henri Coanda Airport
An unfortunate situation occurred at Otopeni airport over the weekend, as flights were seriously delayed, causing travelers to have to wait for departure for hours, while in some cases their flights ended up being canceled.
Romanian news channel Antena 3 covered the story, with images showing people of all ages waiting, sitting on the floor, and some even sleeping there.
The National Airport Company has since issued an official statement, explaining that the situation was caused by a high flow of air traffic coupled with the airlines’ and handlers’ severe staff shortage.
The flight whose delay caused the most issues was Ryanair’s RYR8735 flight to Milan Malpensa, which was originally scheduled to depart on the night of June 18, but finally took off on June 19 at four in the afternoon. In the interim, travelers waited at the airport, not knowing when they would be leaving, why their flight was being delayed, or what was being done to resolve the situation.
A few of them spoke to local news channel Antena 3. One woman, clearly upset, said: “What happened today is not normal, we’ve been here for 24 hours. We haven't slept, we haven't eaten, we haven't had anything to drink and we have no explanation. Are we still leaving or not? Have they kidnapped us or what?”
Another woman described how the situation had been handled by the airport: “Why didn't they give us water or food, or take us to a hotel? First, they told us they were taking us to a hotel, but they didn't. They put us on the plane, then we disembarked. We got on again, we got off again. They said there were technical issues with the plane - that a light wasn’t working. But that wasn’t it, because when we went to the desk to ask for information they told us the problem was that the pilots had too many hours of flight time.”
The National Airport Company says that the huge delay was due to the airline’s lack of on-board staff and told Libertatea that responsibility for the situation lies not with them, but with the airlines with which the affected tourists are traveling.
However, they admit that Henri Coandă International Airport has an obligation to provide passengers with the necessary waiting conditions, which is why they are apparently setting up an appropriate waiting area in the passageway between the Arrivals and Departures terminals.