aviation: Aviation Event 2023: Panel discussion on post-COVID developments and the looming labor shortage


The aviation industry faces numerous challenges, but also opportunities. At the Aviation Event 2023, high-ranking representatives from the industry will speak about the time after Corona and the impending labor shortage.

Challenges such as the corona pandemic were largely overcome. But that doesn’t solve everything. Other problems, such as the looming labor shortage, still lie ahead. These problems arise from high-speed floppy disks in the aviation industry. Specifically, a panel discussion took place between David Ciceo, CEO of Cluj Airport, Caballero Pinto, CEO of Sofia Airport, Laila Odina, Chairman of the Board of Riga Airport and Dobardžić, CEO of Podgorica Airport.

Development during the corona pandemic

David Ciceo, CEO of Cluj Airport, confirmed that the airport’s economic performance has improved even after the pandemic. The numbers for this year are better than the year before the pandemic, indicating a recovery after the pandemic. The general development and the improvement in the numbers are directly related to the EU accession in 2017, which set air traffic in motion.

Sofia Airport CEO Caballero Pinto remains in the airport’s 10-hour window of review. The recovery from the corona pandemic was also satisfactory; in terms of performance, better results were achieved in the current year than in 2019. Despite this good news, there is a problem: there is a loss of passengers due to the wars in Europe and the Middle East.

The CEO of Riga Airport, Laila Odina, was able to report a passenger volume of 4.8 million passengers. An increase of around 10 percent is expected to be achieved by January 2024. Odina confirmed that Riga Airport is scheduled to start new routes in the Balkan countries in 2024. Specifically, it is about establishing connections to Albania, Bulgaria (Sofia) and Montenegro.

Podgorica Airport could also grow compared to the previous year, said CEO Dobardžić. Podgorica and Tivat airports recorded passenger traffic of around two million passengers. Podgorica Airport recorded an increase of 30 percent compared to 2019, said Dobardžić.

Is there a risk of a labor shortage in the future?

David Ciceo, CEO of the airport, acknowledged the existing labor shortage problem. Most young people emigrate for economic reasons. Cluj Airport employs many Asian workers, especially from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Riga Airport CEO Laila Odina recognizes the problem of labor shortages. Many of the younger generation are leaving the country to seek financial benefits abroad. However, they see the problem primarily in the security area, where a high level of service is required that cannot be compensated accordingly. Problems like these should be solved by artificial intelligence. In the future, automatable processes will be taken over by artificial intelligence, says Odina.

Caballero Pinto, CEO of Sofia Airport, can also agree with this. The population is shrinking and recruiting workers is becoming increasingly difficult. One solution would be to increase the disadvantages, but that is not possible in the long term. He also assumes that artificial intelligence will be used in the future.

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