BERGEN (Dagbladet): The summer has been characterized by flight strikes and luggage problems. At Flesland airport in Bergen, there are approximately 300 parcels that must be forwarded to passengers who have not brought their luggage with them after the holiday.
Dagbladet meets operative terminal manager Asbjørn Tolo in the arrival hall at the airport, where the luggage is left. He answers the challenges are beginning to subside, but estimates that problems with delayed luggage will not normalize until the end of the month.
There are two handling companies that handle the luggage in Bergen. Aviator Airport Alliance and Widerøe Ground Handling.
– They have had a very tough summer. They staffed up when this started and have had a lot to do. But they have managed to bring in more people and have handled this reasonably well, says Tolo, who has also spoken to them in the past Bergens Tidende about the luggage challenges.
The problems have arisen as a result of low manning in Europe and an upscaling of air traffic. According to the terminal manager, it is primarily the airports in Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Oslo where a lot of delayed luggage arrives.
– If it piles up somewhere, it has consequences for others. There have been some problems in Oslo which have spread further here, he says.
At times there have been over 500 parcels in the arrivals hall. As something goes out, more comes in.
– Do you have room for everything?
– Yes, or no, not in a good way. In periods it has had to be left on the outside of the cubicles. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it is. It hopes up.
– What are the biggest challenges with this?
– It’s boring for the passengers who can’t take their luggage with them. For us, and for the handling companies, it is a lot of extra work and it is an expensive affair both for them and for the airlines.
Another problem that has arisen with the luggage that is left behind is smell.
– Some people sometimes put food in their luggage. If it is delayed, with frozen meat or fish, and this is left in heat, it will thaw and perhaps also run out liquid. We quickly notice the smell and deal with it, explains Tolo.
– What does it smell like?
– It smells like rotten meat. You know it quickly. There is nothing here that smells now. It’s been a few weeks since the last time.
In most cases, the luggage is damaged and must be destroyed.
– It’s people who react to smells and then we have to find out where it’s coming from. Then we have to handle the luggage in question. It’s not a big problem, but it happens.
2000 parcels per hour
At worst, there have been twice as many parcels as during Dagbladet’s visit, according to Tolo. There are approximately 300 parcels here on Wednesday morning.
The special «room» for delayed baggage is full.
Several times people come to collect their luggage. Tolo shows Dagbladet around. Some of the luggage has to go on to other flights and some is waiting to be taken out. On the other side of the domestic terminal, on the international side, it also says luggage. This must go through customs regardless of whether it follows the passages or not. The luggage is sorted and ready for further handling.
The terminal manager talks about a calculation this summer which showed that the amount of delayed baggage was less than 2 percent.
– We have a system that removes 2,000 parcels at a time. So 80-90 percent of this goes well, he says.
In June and July, Gjensidige registered around 2,000 cases where luggage was delayed, which is an increase of over 50 percent from 2019, according to P4. Delayed baggage is at the top of the claims list at Fremtind, the insurance company for SpareBank 1 and DNB, the company stated in a press release on Saturday.
– Tough situation
There are around 150 flights from Bergen every day, and then it comes about as many. The terminal manager says at Flesland there is an increase in transfer passengers, which also affects the luggage problem.
– Has it been tiring to work at the airport this summer, with more of your feedback?
– There have been angry, despairing and disappointed people. Those who sit in the front here have probably had it tough at times. Many had to travel and then problems arise with delays, strikes, cancellations and luggage, then it is clear that it is sometimes tough to sit in the front and face this.
He is looking for everyone who works at the airport for the efforts throughout the summer. Flesland has not been affected by staffing problems.
– It was a tough situation when traffic picked up, so some companies struggled for a period, but on the whole things have gone well. It is an advantage that many therapists are automated.
Tolo points out that Flesland is perhaps the airport in Norway that has returned to traffic the fastest. There have been weeks this summer when domestic travel was 20 percent above the 2019 high. The foreign trips are somewhat below the figures for 2019.
– But the total is in excess of the 2019 figures, according to Tolo.
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