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Discussion in 'Bristol' started by TheLocalYokel, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. TheLocalYokel

    TheLocalYokel Administrator Staff Member

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    https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/bristol-airport-swissport-easyjet-tui-1660574

    BRS and Swissport are blaming the situation entirely on the French industrial action that led to many delayed flights. Probably paid a part but it doesn't answer the long term problem of insufficient handlers at the airport at times. It's not as if the congestion on Saturday evening was a one-off.

    kraktoa had already highlighted recent problems with incoming baggage in #830 in this thread nearly two weeks ago.
     
  2. Red Flyer

    Red Flyer Member

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    So many experts so little knowledge!!
    Just about every unit at BRS has taken on extra staff for the summer and just about every unit has encountered problems getting airside passes.
    The handling agents are no different. They have 6-10 crews of 4 staff for arriving aircraft depending how busy it is due to be. If a problem is foreseen this can be increased to more crews by reducing a team to 3. In the event of delays being excessive the crew has to move on to their next assigned aircraft. They simply do not sit around playing cards or drinking coffee. When the delayed aircraft then arrives it has to wait for a crew to be available. It is easy to go on Twatter or Fakebook and rant and rave but it is simple economics not rocket science!! Unfortunately social media and mobile phones with cameras have exacerbated the problems because whereas the crews could slide cases along flatbed trucks airlines now demand they use covered trailers. This means that putting 100 cases on a truck now means putting less on a trailer which means every time the trailer is full everything has to stop to pull the thing forward to load the next truck. All time consuming!
     
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  3. TheLocalYokel

    TheLocalYokel Administrator Staff Member

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    Thank you for your post which puts another slant on the situation.

    I don't think any of us has suggested the handling crews sit around amusing themselves: just the opposite in fact as some of us have made the point that if they are so under-staffed it follows that they will be overworked, not skiving. I don't think anyone has criticised the crews themelves on this forum. The target has been the airlines and their handling agents.

    I can understand the problems when aircraft are late and add to the scheduled arrivals mix when delays in offloading baggage will be inevitable. However, if it's not down to inadequate staffing levels it ought to follow that in normal circumstances there should be enough staff to handle the aircraft expeditiously. From your remark about airlines now requiring covered trailers which slows down the unloading procedure, that does suggest that there is now an inbuilt additional obstacle that was not previously the case. I take it that the airlines have not arranged with their handling agents to take on more staff to overcome this extra work which, if they haven't, perhaps justifies some of the criticism that has been levelled at the airlines and their handling agents. Or would extra staff not make any difference given the 'musical chairs' element of this part of the procedure (from your description).

    Your other point about delays in getting airside passes raises more questions to those of us who have an interest, mainly because we are users of the airport and might be affected. If it's simply a question of bureaucratic and administrative delays on the part of whoever issues the passes (presumably some department of the airport, or perhaps not) then that's inexcusable because the number of staff required for the summer would have been known a long time ago. If, however, the delay stems from the actions of an outside body, either government or quango, why are not the airport and airlines telling the public and certainly local MPs of the reasons if they impact negatively on the service they can provide for their passengers?
     
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  4. Jerry

    Jerry Moderator Staff Member I've upgraded to support F4A!

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    As a non-expert with very little knowledge your post is very enlightening! Most people generally won't have a clue in what goes on airside, as passenger i always find it fascinating to watch the handling crews work. What i'm surprised about is with airlines like Easyjet and Ryanair always wanting fast turnarounds then i'd have thought containerised luggage would be quicker than people having to handball everything. I'm aware that 737s can't take containers but have heard that BA for Heathrow does at least with their Airbus aircraft, i'm not sure about the other IAG airlines though i have seen Iberia marked containers at CWL.
     
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  5. Sherburnflyer92

    Sherburnflyer92 Well-Known Member

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    A good percentage of passengers also leave their brains in a 'leave your brain whilst you go on holiday' bin just beside check in.

    I gest (y)
     
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  6. Foxlimayankee

    Foxlimayankee Well-Known Member

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    What RedFlyer has posted certainly brings some context from a handlers point of view, whereas I think the other posts about this topic is viewed from a passengers point of view. Both very valid and both completely understandable. A passenger doesn't necessarily understand the logistics of getting the bags on/off and to/from the aircraft. It's not as simple of most would think.
    There does seem to be a growing issue with baggage delivery at BRS, but the first question that needs to be asked, Is this an occurrence when everything is running smoothly or does this happen only when flights are delayed and clash?
    Comments I've read in recent times tend to fall around a similar period on that particular day or even just a specific flight. In the grand scheme of things, BRS handles what, 100 flights per day?
    As Redflyer says, most turnaround require 4 people. In more demanding times this can be reduced to 3 to make up additional teams. Every aircraft and Airline has different requirements, and each of those Airlines will have a turnaround that is achievable in different ways. For example, EZY/FR will have 25 minute turnaround. They will have X amount of bags that can highly vary by destination. E.G, you're average Domestic flight will have much less bags than a Canaries or Greek flight. Add into the mix hand luggage. You could have as much hand luggage to unload as checked in bags if the flight is full. You could be talking 150+ bags. The same for the outbound. So you're talking 300+ bags in total to handle in less than 25 mins. That is charter flight baggage territory, where charter flights tend to get a 1 hour turnaround.
    To put into context lets just say in a 1 hour period there's 10 flights scheduled to land. That's 40 ramp staff. For whatever reason that can quite easily shoot up to 15 if 5 flights get delayed coming back or even arrive early. That's then a requirement of 60 staff if you maintain the 4 person comfortable working team. 50% increase required. Drop those to 3 person teams and you're still 5 people short (Or nearly 2 teams)
    BRS is a very "peaky" Airport as the majority of flights to/from there are by based aircraft. Using CWL as an example, there is a good mix of based and non-based aircraft operating flights there (And obviously it's much quieter! But they will staff for the number of flights scheduled anyway, so it balances). This means everything doesn't leave and return at the same time.
    However on the flip side, you don't hear about baggage delivery issues at other Airports and other Airports must experience delays as well. Similarly the baggage "trucks" have only in recent times been used at a couple of UK Airport. BRS and LTN some of the few I believe. Many others have been using "trollies" for years.

    From what I've heard before, recruitment is becoming increasingly difficult in the Bristol/South West region because employment in the area is generally good, as are wages. Wages at the Airport itself for handlers, contractors and outlets aren't particularly high, so it's difficult to recruit. So it's likely there is still staff shortages. Add into the mix the continual expansion and seasonality of BRS, meaning every year new staff are needed in time for the summer, rather than keeping staff through the winter when they aren't required, puts huge pressure on the recruitment process and the admin side of it, such as Airside passes and of course training and experience.
    Airlines have no say in how many staff handlers should employ. They give the contract and expect the handler to meet the schedule, with little care of how they reach that and still remain a profitable handling company. A number of handlers in the UK have gone bust or imploded internally and lost contracts because the business or contract they've taken on wasn't feasible. Aviator being one, which royally screwed Swissport in BHX that as the only handler inherited all of the contracts and caused huge problems there. You would be very surprised to hear what Airlines actually pay for a turnaround.
    So although the handler may need to up their game in certain areas, the majority of this I would say boils down to money and contracts, and the huge burden that growing Airports and Airlines put onto handlers with unrealistic expectations.
    That being said, one of the key things for customers is information. All too regularly I've seen twitter comments about lack of information. Whether that be a human presence or an announcement early on advising that there will be a delay. Some kind of system in place that can at least pre-warn people to expect a delay.
     
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  7. Jerry

    Jerry Moderator Staff Member I've upgraded to support F4A!

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    Just as a comparison tomorrow BRS will recieve about 15 non flights from non based aircraft out of 100 departures all together so 15% of it's departures. In comparison Cardiff will have 30 departures, 9 of those departures will be by non based aircraft which is 30% of it's flights which generally operate while the based aircraft are away.
     
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  8. TheLocalYokel

    TheLocalYokel Administrator Staff Member

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    Excellent comprehensive digest of the situation. The point about the employment situtation in the Bristol region is probably germane. In fact, I was going to make the same point in a post yesterday but it then slipped my mind. For example, without overseas bus drivers (mainly from central and eastern Europe) Bristol's bus system would grind to a halt. First West of England had to set up an office in Poland at one point in a desperate attempt to find drivers.

    More non-based aircraft would also help to spread the traffic flow generally and help to ease the crowding in the terminal at peak times. Today there are actually 112 departures listed (excluding the Airbus and BAE shuttles which are handled on the South Side anyway) with 22 operated by non-based aircraft (19.6%): 8 Ryanair, 5 Aer Lingus Regional, 4 KLM Cityhopper, 3 easyJet, 1 Aurigny, 1 Flybe/Blue Islands.

    More relevant to the baggage handling we've been discussing is the arrivals list of which there are 107 between midnight and midnight today, with the scheduled time spread as follows:

    0030-0450 7
    0700-0859 4
    0900-1059 10
    1100-1259 17
    1300-1459 9
    1500-1659 16
    1700-1859 13
    1900-2059 12
    2100-2259 10
    2300-0059 9

    Superficially the spread looks reasonable apart from the two hours from 0700 (when the outbound procession is in full swing). Monday morning is the quietest day of the week for the period from midnight: Tuesday-Sunday sees respectively 12, 10, 15, 10, 10, 14 arrivals. This period is often the one that generates a lot of passenger complaints in social media about baggage delays as it follows on from the busy late evening period of the previous day. As Red Flyer and Foxlimayankee have pointed out, it only needs some delayed aircraft to make a very difficult situation.
     
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  9. forest1979

    forest1979 Active Member

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    I read today about NCL dev plans, specifically extending their runway. They clearly believe this will bring both jobs and benefits to the airport... how is that for NCL and not BRS (not counting the logistical problems for BRS)
     
  10. TheLocalYokel

    TheLocalYokel Administrator Staff Member

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    I can recall reading a few weeks ago that NCL were reserving land for a possible runway extension (was it up to an additional 700 metres?) although there were no current plans to extend it. NCL already has a runway over 300 metres longer than BRS.
     
  11. big g

    big g Active Member

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    Just to add to the disruption debate.

    This year ATC slot restriction’s are up by 600% the bulk is due to French/Italian and Greek ATC strikes. But BRS is suffering daily with ATC slots on the majority of flights, even domestic flights are suffering.

    The problem the Ground handlers face, is they roster to a schedule, when the disruption kicks in, you can’t plan for that. As we have seen over the last month the airlines are cancelling flights last minute, so if they do adjust the roster to compensate and the airlines cancel flights, some days you could end up with 25 staff members not needed for 2-3 hrs. Also you would need to adjust the roster through the day, again you will have staff in the wrong place. If you adjust to the historical delays, then you could end up with a lack of staff at the scheduled peak times.

    It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
     
  12. Seasider

    Seasider Premium Member I've upgraded to support F4A!

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    Thank you to all contributors to this debate, it has opened my eyes to how "baggage handling" works. I only look at it from a passenger viewpoint and about 50% of flights, I am "hand baggage" only.
     
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  13. Coathanger16

    Coathanger16 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. I wonder why they feel they need the runway extension - is Emirates currently payload limited from NCL?
     
  14. Jerry

    Jerry Moderator Staff Member I've upgraded to support F4A!

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    They may want to develop the cargo side of the airport.
     
  15. Jerry

    Jerry Moderator Staff Member I've upgraded to support F4A!

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  16. Foxlimayankee

    Foxlimayankee Well-Known Member

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    Cleaning Supervisor
     
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  17. TheLocalYokel

    TheLocalYokel Administrator Staff Member

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    As I read it the reserving of land at NCL for a possible future runway extension is a sort of insurance in case it is ever needed.

    With BRS the land is there but much of it is currently common land so in that sense there is no need to 'reserve' it. The problem would be (apart from cost - a 150-metre tunnel for the A38 would be needed) environmental with all hell breaking loose if the airport tried to take some of the common land for a runway extension.
     

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