- A British pilot said he was cleaning planes and loading bags to avoid flight delays, according to iNews.
- They said understaffing meant pilots had to “get involved” to ensure flights departed on time.
- The pilot said that the additional work took time from him while preparing for takeoff.
A pilot said he loaded luggage and cleaned planes as airlines grappled with staffing issues this summer.
The unnamed pilot, who said he was based at a Manchester airport in the UK, told iNews staffing issues started to develop around the New Year holidays before escalating in the spring.
They said understaffing meant pilots had to “get involved” to ensure flights departed on time.
“Cleaning the plane or putting on a few extra bags, it can take five minutes and could be the difference between getting the plane off the ground or being delayed that night,” they told iNews.
“Some airlines’ cabin crew clean the plane, some don’t. For those who don’t, you often see cabin crew and pilots getting involved in cleaning the plane to try and speed things up,” they added.
The pilot told the outlet that he has loaded passengers’ luggage onto planes twice this year.
They said having to take on the extra duties was an “extreme scenario” and took time away from the pilots’ responsibilities while preparing for takeoff.
“There are two of us there, but actually we should both be on the flight deck watching the flight, not loading planes,” they said.
A spokesperson for Manchester Airport referred Insider to the airlines for comment, adding that pilots and ground staff are not on its staff and he could not comment on their operations.
The entire aviation industry has struggled to keep up with travel demand in recent months. A shortage of pilots, baggage handlers and cabin crew has led to hundreds of flight delays and cancellations.
Although the pilot told iNews he thought the situation was improving, they added that “as soon as one or two people start sounding sick, the whole supply chain starts to crumble.”
Flight attendants have also complained of industry-wide staff shortages, which has left them exhausted and overworked. Flight crew members said CNN staff were “maxed out” and “working to the bone” amid a chaotic summer of travel.