Desperate Conditions at Prague Airport: Employee Reveals Grim Reality

Prague’s Václav Havel Airport has recently been plagued by severe baggage handling issues, causing frustration among travelers. These problems stem from a significant staff shortage at Czech Airlines Holding (CSAH). Spokesperson Klára Divíšková claims that 90 employees work during the day and 40 at night to handle luggage. However, an anonymous source, whose identity is known to Novinky, states that the number of workers is far lower. Employees are reportedly underpaid, overworked, and frequently call in sick. On one recent day, only 10 employees reportedly showed up for work.

According to Novinky’s source, CSAH is short by about 70 workers, leaving the current staff overwhelmed. The problem affects luggage loading and unloading but is particularly severe in the sorting area. Novinky also has access to a work schedule from July 1st, which shows that the number of employees is often in single digits rather than tens.

Employees are forbidden from talking to the media, but one worker who contacted Novinky and proved their employment described the situation as untenable. “In reality, there are about 20 people on a shift, rotating continuously. Depending on the aircraft type, it takes between 3 to 7 people per plane. However, people have started taking sick leave and ‘striking’ because the physical demands are unbearable. Just recently, only 10 people came to work,” they said.

Breaks are reportedly not adhered to, and shifts are long, with schedules set from 4:00 AM to 5:00 PM, another from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and another from 10:30 AM to 1:30 AM. “We work 16 hours a day, and we currently lack around 70 workers to cover operations,” the employee clarified.

The situation is even worse in the baggage sorting area. “They can’t keep up with sorting the luggage, and it’s literally overflowing everywhere. People are quitting, and there is no interest in this job,” said a worker familiar with the situation.

For passengers, the small number of employees means they may have to wait several hours for their luggage after arriving, or worse, their plane may depart without their luggage, which has happened repeatedly. According to spokesperson Divíšková, CSAH employs around 520 to 570 permanent staff, with another 500 to 800 hired based on seasonal needs. These figures include all personnel involved in passenger check-in, aircraft cleaning, luggage handling, and ramp control, which involves preparing planes for departure. She claims 90 people work during the day and 40 at night for luggage loading and unloading alone.

The company continually hires new employees, promising a gross salary of 35,000 crowns (around 28,000 net) after three months of training. Despite the seemingly competitive salary, the job involves heavy physical labor, deterring potential applicants.