IATA Harps On Reforms To Attract, Retain Ground Handling Talent


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for holistic reforms to manage the long-term need for a stable talent base for the ground handling sector.

Thousands of ground handling staff left the aviation industry during the pandemic. Now as aviation ramps up, the severe shortage of skilled ground handlers is shedding light on the need for reform to stabilize the talent pool.

In the immediate term, the most pressing issue according to the clearinghouse for over 290 airlines is the bottleneck for security clearances as the airline industry prepares for the peak northern summer season.

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Longer-term, IATA urges the ground handling sector to adopt a stronger talent acquisition strategy, streamline onboarding processes, and develop a more compelling retention proposition.

“The peak northern summer travel season is fast-approaching, and passengers are already experiencing the effects of bottlenecks in getting security clearances for staff at the airport. Additional resources are needed to accelerate the processing times for employment security clearances which can be as much as 6 months in some markets. The shortages we are experiencing today are a symptom of the longer-term challenges to achieve a stable talent base in ground handling,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety, and Security.

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Wole Shadare