Suitcases pile up at Zurich Airport as European staff shortages bite

Suitcases pile up at Zurich Airport as European staff shortages bite

750 pieces of luggage were seen piling up in the baggage reclaim area of Zurich Airport this week. Now, Swissport, the international company responsible for baggage handling for most airlines, has blamed flight cancellations and a lack of workers for the backlog of suitcases.

Swissport employees fear summer of disruption in Switzerland

On Wednesday and Thursday, hundreds of pieces of luggage were stacked on top of each other in the baggage reclaim area in Zurich, immediately attracting the attention of the Swiss media. Experts have warned that airports face significant disruption this summer as airlines cancel flights due to staff shortages, so many wanted to know why so many bags were left unclaimed.

Speaking to Blick, Swissport spokesperson Nathalie Berchtold explained, "There are a number of suitcases that are temporarily stored in the baggage claim area, they are stacked neatly, registered in the system and processed."

"Swissport currently has enough staff in Switzerland to service regular air traffic,” she assured. 

Baggage backlog in Zurich blamed on European staff shortage

When asked why there were so many bags piling up in Zurich, Berchtold said, “At the moment, aviation is seeing more and more flight cancellations as well as staff shortages at airports overseas. This is why passengers arrive more and more often without luggage in Zurich, and the suitcases are only sent later from abroad to Zurich.”The baggage is then processed and sent to passengers either by courier or post.

Despite the companies' assurances that things will continue to run smoothly in Switzerland, Swissport employees who spoke to Blick said they feared a “catastrophic summer.” Much like the issues at Swiss airlines, baggage handlers fear there will be too few staff to cope with the increased demand over the summer

There are currently 750 bags waiting in Zurich to be processed and sent to people in the alpine nation. To combat the current backlog, Berchtold confirmed that they were making additional staff available who will work overtime “to process baggage, even at night.” 

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

Read more



Leave a comment