Zero evidence airport disruption planned by World Economic Forum

24 June 2022
What was claimed

There are no staffing shortages or baggage glitches at airports—the disruption was planned and is linked to the World Economic Forum.

Our verdict

The issues with staffing shortages and technical glitches at airports have been extremely widely reported, and there is no evidence the disruption has been planned or has anything to do with the WEF.

A post on Facebook claims “there are no staffing or bag glitches with flights” and that the current issues at airports are “on purpose”. 

There’s no evidence that this is true, and there are plenty of reports confirming that the ongoing disruption is down to widespread issues with staffing and glitches to air traffic control and baggage handling software. 

The post also claims that “we’re in the pocket of the WEF [World Economic Forum]”, appearing to blame the organisation for purposefully causing the disruption. 

We’ve written about false claims implicating the WEF in various alleged plots to disrupt or control the population many times. The WEF is an international, non-governmental lobbying organisation. There’s zero evidence it is involved in the disruption at airports. 

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Glitches and staff shortages causing disruption at airports 

As we’ve recently written, there’s no evidence that the issues with cancellations, delays and baggage at airports have been planned. 

Lack of preparedness following Covid-19 has been one of the major reasons given for the problems with the aviation industry, causing staff shortages both in the UK and abroad, with airlines and airports unable to keep up with demand as international travel restrictions lifted.

Many airlines laid off staff during the pandemic and have struggled to recruit and process new employees through the industry’s stringent background check processes in time for the influx of summer bookings. 

Speaking at a recent FT Global Boardroom conference, Heathrow airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye said “demand has been coming back . . . much faster than the ability of the industry to scale up.”

The International Air Travel Association (IATA) said in May that clearance times for applicants had more than tripled to as long as three months.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has rejected claims from airline bosses that security checks are causing staff shortages, saying: “I also understand the resourcing strains on the aviation sector but it does not excuse poor planning and overbooking flights that they cannot service.”

Some airline bosses, including the CEOs of Ryanair and Easyjet, have blamed Brexit for the staff shortage issues affecting their companies. 

Multiple recent technical glitches have also been reported, including air traffic control issues at Gatwick, followed by similar issues at a number of airports in the south east including Heathrow. 

These technical issues have also affected baggage systems at Heathrow, causing 10% of flights on 20 June to be cancelled, with pictures of thousands of piled-up bags appearing online.

Image courtesy of Patrick Campanale

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