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Flight chaos: Lufthansa now has to take care of these construction sites

The flight chaos hit the German aviation group hard. It’s his own fault. The management of Lufthansa must now urgently take care of three acute construction sites.

It could have been a really good year. The Lufthansa Group has a good chance of taking control of ITA Airways together with the shipping company giant MSC. With its entry into the Italian national airline, the German group could significantly strengthen its position in the lucrative Italian market and further advance consolidation in Europe.

At the same time, the corona measures were lifted in many countries around the world and people can fly again – and want to. It looked as if Lufthansa could overcome the crisis faster than feared and make people forget the dark days when the company needed billions in aid from the state. But it turned out quite differently.

Police escorts for staff

Like the entire aviation industry, Lufthansa is plagued by an acute shortage of staff. The resulting flight chaos overshadows everything. At the weekend, the situation escalated to such an extent that the airline in Frankfurt had to temporarily stop handling.

The atmosphere was so tense beforehand that the employees at the check-in and helpdesk had to be escorted out of the terminal by a police escort. Notes were quickly displayed on the monitors: “Due to numerous flight cancellations, we ask you to take care of your onward journey by train or to go to the hotel / home. Rebookings or hotel bookings can no longer be made today.» They were scenes of despair.

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Three acute construction sites

Employees are burned out, passengers are frustrated and management seems at a loss at times. What’s the matter with Lufthansa? Quite a lot and that is largely due to external factors such as strikes in many countries, overburdened air traffic control, overwhelmed security checks and high levels of sick leave. But it is also partly due to past mistakes.

The management of the Lufthansa Group is challenged like never before. And this time the challenges are a lot more complex than during the pandemic. The management of Lufthansa now has to take care of three acute construction sites:

1. Recruitment

There is a shortage of staff in the industry. This is due to the Corona crisis, in which many employees left and switched to safer, better-paid jobs with better working hours. The Lufthansa management is partly to blame for this. During the crisis, she reduced the workforce too much and at the same time failed to take countermeasures when the bottlenecks became apparent. According to the latest headlines, finding new employees has become even more difficult. Management must solve this problem in the long term.

2. Employee satisfaction

The staff shortage and the nasty environment causes additional stress for those who remain. Dissatisfaction in the Lufthansa Group is increasing. This is extremely dangerous, there is a risk of additional know-how being drained. It is no longer enough to point out the fundamentally difficult situation in the industry. It needs tangible signs of acknowledgment of the extra work and comprehensible strategies to eliminate the malaise.

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3. Product

In the past few years, Lufthansa’s management has had to apologize three times for poor service. Each time she was able to refer to the adverse circumstances. But in the end, the customers don’t care who caused the problem. She has paid for a service and rightly expects the promised value in return. And after the third apology, all assurances, no matter how well-intentioned, no longer seem really credible. Now credible signs and actions are needed.

Ticket prices have increased significantly in recent months. That doesn’t make the situation any easier. Those who pay more for worse service are frustrated. Lufthansa is currently risking losing customers. To competitors who do it better, but also to the railways and private transport. This is all the more true as the group reduced capacity more than its competitors during the pandemic, thereby risking that once loyal customers would get to know and sometimes even love the offerings of the competition.

The shortcomings in the product go beyond the current crisis. Lufthansa wanted to position itself as a five-star airline, but did not live up to this claim. This is partly due to a lack of investment and partly to outdated cabins. But also in the absence of innovations. Corrections are needed here – in the claim or in the offer.

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