Travel News

Airports gear up for passenger surge as spring break tests their capacity - THE CANADIAN PRESS

MARCH 11, 2023

MONTREAL — Airports and airlines prepared for a surge in passengers this week ahead of spring break after a year where the industry has struggled to cope with peak travel times.

As March break kicked off in Ontario this weekend, travellers hoped to avoid a repeat of the snaking lines, lost luggage and hundreds of thousands of flight cancellations that beset them last summer and during the winter holidays.

March is typically a busy time for the airline industry as provincial spring breaks fall throughout the month and families use the time to travel.

Severe staffing shortages and high worker attrition rates were among the factors conspiring to snarl air travel as the sector began recovering from COVID-19-related travel restrictions in 2022 — with fears they could foil vacation plans yet again.

Last month, the percentage of on-time departures in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal was well below that of airports in Seattle, Chicago, New York City and Boston, according to statistics from travel data company OAG.

"It doesn't bode well, given that February is traditionally a quiet time of year, that in the case of the three largest Canadian airports somewhere in the vicinity of four out of every 10 flights were delayed," said former Air Canada chief operating officer Duncan Dee.

Jessica Ng, who was waiting at Pearson with her two children and husband Friday morning, said they realized after entering the terminal that their U.S.-bound Air Canada plane was delayed for about two hours because the incoming flight had also been held up.

“I have been delayed quite often by Air Canada before as well, so I am not surprised,” she said.

But fear of losing her luggage remained top of mind, so Ng resorted to an increasingly common tactic.

“I added an extra AirTag in my checked luggage, just in case if they are lost, then I know I can track my luggage,” she said, referring to Apple's electronic tracking device.

Ng said her confidence in Canadian airlines and airports is not strong.

"But do we have a choice?"

Last week, Toronto's Pearson airport announced it would cap the number of flights during high-traffic hours in order to "flatten out" daily peaks and smooth the flow of passengers.

Airlines and the two federal agencies responsible for airport security screeners and border officers say they are adequately staffed to handle the flood of spring travellers, though some hedged their confidence.

"While we are well staffed and prepared for the spring and summer travel seasons, it’s important to note that wait times at any airport can occur for various reasons, even when staffing levels are optimal, and can fluctuate throughout the day based on passenger volume/number of flights," said Suzanne Perseo, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), in an email.

She said the agency has nearly 530 fewer screening officers than in 2019, when it employed 8,284 screeners, though some 700 recruits are in various stages of the certification process." At the country's four largest airports — Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary — staffing levels are at or above pre-pandemic levels, she said.

Air Canada boasted a head count of about 37,000 at the end of February compared with 35,680 in December and just over 31,000 a year ago.

"The Canadian job market is very competitive so attracting and retaining talent is a challenge for all companies," said airline spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick in an email.

Flair Airlines CEO Stephen Jones said this week that staff turnover is one of the biggest hurdles in an industry that requires substantial training and skills across much of its workforce, from flight crews to air traffic controllers.

"Pilots are heavily in demand, and mobile ... The other part really is the airport labour force, whether it's the baggage handlers or check-in — not so much attracting people necessarily, but the level of attrition," he said at a press conference.

"Mechanics are another that's very much in demand — the maintenance engineers" — who typically need a four-year college diploma or apprenticeship program as well as several years of on-the-job training.

Customer service agents receive "abysmal" training and unsustainable schedules at some airlines, said Leslie Dias, director of airlines at Unifor, which represents nearly 9,000 agents.

“We have some airline workers whose entire training happens virtually. They never even step into an airport until essentially their first day of work. So I think you can imagine what that means in terms of assisting passengers," she said.

"And you can have a shift that’s from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. or some crazy time that’s late at night. And they’re not always stable hours" — resulting in further turnover — she said.

Security screeners' attrition rate in the three months between July and September was about 10 per cent countrywide, though it's "trending down," CATSA said.

David Lipton, a spokesman for the United Steelworkers union that represents some 2,000 screeners across 44 Canadian airports, partly agreed, pointing to wage hikes in recent collective agreements: "The situation is still difficult in terms of retention and recruiting, but it is improving."

The number of scheduled flights by Air Canada and WestJet jumped 31 per cent to 47,362 this month from 36,062 in the same period a year earlier, according to flight data firm Cirium.

The most sought-after destinations included Paris, New York City, London, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas, according to travel search engine Kayak.

— With files from Sharif Hassan in Toronto.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:AC)

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

Italy to raise penalties for smugglers after migrant tragedy - AP

MARCH 11, 2023

ROME (AP) — Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni unveiled her right-wing government's plans to crack down on people smugglers following a Cabinet meeting she led Thursday in the southern town near the beach where a wooden boat packed with migrants broke apart 11 days earlier, killing scores and leaving many missing.

By holding the meeting in Cutro, Calabria, instead of the capital, Rome, Meloni said she was stressing her resolve to “combat the slavery of the Third Millennium.”

She announced that her Cabinet had approved a decree establishing a new crime — people smuggling that results in death of migrants — punishable by up to 30 years in prison, an exceptionally stiff sentence for crimes involving facilitating illegal immigration.

According to details of the approved decrees, provided by Meloni's office Thursday night, the punishment for the death of a sole migrant could bring up to 24 years in prison.

Many of the dead and survivors in the Feb. 26 tragedy had fled Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Syria, hoping to join family members in Italy and other Western European countries.

Earlier this week, a 72nd body was recovered from the shipwreck. The overcrowded boat smashed into a sandbank just off Steccato di Cutro beach, started taking on water and splintered apart.

Eighty people survived, many of them staggering ashore on the beach after swimming from the wreck. Dozens are still believed to be missing because survivors said the boat had set out from Turkey with around 180 passengers.

"Our task is to find solutions to the problem, and today, as I said, the best way to honor those victims is to do what one can so that this tragedy isn't repeated,'' Meloni said.

The Cabinet decree must be converted into law by Parliament, where Meloni's right-wing coalition holds a comfortable majority.

The decree also empowers Italy to pursue smugglers even if the crimes are committed "outside our national borders,'' Meloni said.

Justice Minister Carlo Nordio told reporters that Italy will affirm its jurisdiction in cases where a deadly shipwreck, or other loss of life or injury to migrants, happens in “waters not under anyone's (territorial) control.” That will apply when the smugglers’ vessel is headed to Italy.

The same decree will be wielded against those who finance the operations behind the smuggling, Nordio said.

Opposition politicians quickly criticized the government for failing to establish a more robust system of humanitarian corridors, so those fleeing war and persecution wouldn't turn to people smugglers.

Instead, in a move apparently aimed at satisfying business lobbies that support Meloni's government, her Cabinet approved devising a system that would facilitate foreigners trained abroad in programs recognized by Italy to obtain jobs as migrants as well as for seasonal farm workers.

Meloni said her government also intended to establish quotas for legal entrance by migrants “from those countries which work with Italy to crack down on traffickers and educate their citizens on the risks” of embarking on smugglers' unseaworthy vessels.

Opposition leaders and humanitarian groups have decried the Italian authorities' decision not to quickly dispatch coast guard rescue boats after a Frontex patrol aircraft spotted the wooden vessel about 40 nautical miles (72 kilometers) off Calabria's coast hours before the pre-dawn wreck in rough seas.

Frontex is the European Union's border and coastal protection agency.

Pressed by reporters, Meloni in Thursday stuck by her interior minister's account to lawmakers earlier this week that Frontex — in its communication to Italian authorities late Feb. 25 — hadn't indicated any sign of distress.

“We're talking about a boat that navigated for three days and ... never had a problem,'' the premier said. ”It arrived in front of the Italian coast, 40 meters (yards) away. There wasn't and there couldn't have been any sign of a possible shipwreck" in the offing, she contended.

Meloni blamed the smugglers for waiting for an opportune moment to disembark the passengers and elude Italian authorities. Instead, the boat rammed the sandbank.

Prosecutors in Calabria are investigating whether Italy should have launched rescue operations following the aerial sighting by Frontex.

Meanwhile, hundreds more migrants have stepped ashore on the southern island of Lampedusa in recent days.

Many arrived without needing rescue. Italy's coast guard and border police boats plucked dozens of others to safety this week in the central Mediterranean. Among them were 45 migrants, including five newborns, rescued on Wednesday, and 38 saved by the coast guard after their boat sank in Malta's rescue sector.

In another Italian coast guard operation, 20 migrants were saved when their boat ran into trouble after setting out from Sfax, Tunisia, and a woman's body was recovered, Italian state television said.

By Thursday afternoon, more than 1,300 migrants had reached Lampedusa by sea in the past few days.

Dozens of townspeople turned out on Thursday in solidarity with migrants in Cutro, a town of 8,000, which closed schools and cordoned off the area as part of security for the Cabinet meeting.

So far, the body of a migrant from Afghanistan has been buried in Calabria, that of a Tunisian victim was sent to Tunisia, a victim from Afghanistan was transported to Germany while four bodies were sent back to Pakistan. On Wednesday, seven bodies were transported to Bologna's Muslim cemetery, while still others were prepared to be sent to Germany and Afghanistan.

Foreign airlines trapped funds in Nigeria rises to $743m - VANGUARD

MARCH 15, 2023

The trapped funds belonging to foreign airlines operating in Nigeria have reached $743,721,097 from $662m in January 2023.

The International Air Transport Association, IATA, on Tuesday, disclosed this in a letter addressed to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, signed by the Area Manager West and Central Africa, Dr. Samson Fatokun, and obtained by our correspondent in Abuja.

According to the letter, IATA and the global airline community seek an invention from the minister for the resolution of airlines blocked funds issues in Nigeria.

“For over a year, Nigeria has been the country with the highest amount of airline-blocked funds in the world. Please find attached the comparative table of airlines’ blocked funds by country.

“Moreover, as of January 2023, airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria have increased to $743.721.092 from $662m in January 2023 and $549m in December 2022.”

Nigeria tops list of countries withholding airline funds, IATA says - REUTERS

MARCH 16, 2023

LAGOS, March 16 (Reuters) - Nigeria is withholding $743 million in revenue earned by international carriers operating in the country, the highest amount owed by any nation, a spokesperson for the global airlines industry association said on Thursday.

Nigeria faces severe shortages of foreign currency, leading to restrictions on imports and meaning investors cannot convert local currency to repatriate their profits.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) spokesperson Katherine Kaczynska said governments around the world owed $2.2 billion to airlines. Nigeria had the highest amount of blocked funds, followed by Algeria and Lebanon, which owed $165 million and $146 million respectively.

"Enabling the efficient repatriation of revenues is critical for any economy to remain globally connected to markets and supply chains," Kaczynska said in emailed response to questions from Reuters.

Dubai's Emirates suspended flights to Nigeria last year after failing to repatriate ticket sales. Last month, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the central bank to increase the amount of foreign currency allocated to Emirates after speaking to UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Emirates has yet to resume flights to Nigeria, which is Africa's most populous nation and is responsible for a large share of the continent's air travellers.

Industrial-scale theft of crude of oil, Nigeria's single biggest earner of foreign exchange, has greatly reduced the country's flow of dollars in the last year.

Apart from Nigeria's $743 million debt, Kaczynska said countries under the West African Economic and Monetary Union owed $132 million while Zimbabwe, which has perennial dollar shortages owed $80 million.

Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; editing by Barbara Lewis

Nigerian airlines record upsurge in traffic in January - NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

MARCH 16, 2023

•As IATA announces traffic recovery in air travel demand

By Shola Adekola | Lagos 

Nigerian airlines have witnessed an upsurge in traffic in January following the challenges of insecurity laced with bad roads which has made travellers to jettison road transport for air travels despite the high fares in the face of cash crunch. 

The rise in air travels in Nigeria has fallen in line with the announcement by the International Association (IATA) that the recovery in air travel demand is continuing in 2023 based on its January traffic results.

The seeming increase in air traffic in Nigeria may have equally been made possible with the increase in the number of state-owned airports.

According to the IATA’s traffic results in January, the total traffic in January 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 67.0 percent compared to January 2022, with the global traffic now at 84.2 percent of January 2019 levels.

African airlines’ traffic rose 124.8 percent in January 2023 versus a year ago. January capacity was up 82.5 percent and the load factor climbed 13.9 percentage points to 73.7 percent, the lowest among regions.

Domestic traffic for January 2023 rose 32.7 percent compared to the year-ago period, helped by the lifting of the zero-COVID policy in China. Total January 2023 domestic traffic was at 97.4 percent of the January 2019 level.

International traffic climbed 104.0 percent versus January 2022 with all markets recording strong growth, led by carriers in the Asia-Pacific region. International RPKs reached 77.0 percent of January 2019 levels.

Commenting on the development, IATA’s Director-General, Willie Walsh, said, “Air travel demand is off to a very healthy start in 2023. The rapid removal of COVID-19 restrictions for Chinese domestic and international travel bodes well for the continued strong industry recovery from the pandemic throughout the year. And, importantly, we have not seen the many economic and geopolitical uncertainties of the day dampening demand for travel.”

Asia-Pacific airlines posted a 376.3 percent increase in January traffic compared to January 2022, by far the strongest year-over-year rate among the regions, but off of a very low base when much of the region was still closed to travel. Capacity rose 167.1 percent and the load factor increased 36.6 percentage points to 83.3 percent, the highest among the regions.

European carriers saw a 60.6 percent traffic rise versus January 2022. Capacity increased by 30.1 percent and the load factor rose by 14.2 percentage points to 75.0 percent.

Middle Eastern airlines’ January traffic rose 97.7 percent compared to January a year ago. Capacity increased by 45.9 percent and load factor climbed 20.8 percentage points to 79.2 percent.

North American carriers reported an 82.4 percent traffic increase in January versus the 2022 period. Capacity rose 37.3 percent and load factor climbed 19.7 percentage points to 79.6 percent.

Latin American airlines had a 46.8 percent traffic increase compared to the same month in 2022. January capacity climbed 34.3 percent and load factor rose 7.1 percentage points to 82.7 percent, the second highest among the regions.

Australia’s domestic traffic rose 107.3 percent in January compared to a year ago and now stands at 88.8 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

China’s domestic RPKs rose 37.2 percent in January, the first month-over-month annual increase since August 2022, and is now at 86.3 percent of January 2019 levels.

“With strong travel demand continuing through the traditionally slower winter season in the northern hemisphere, the stage is set for an even busier spring and summer. At a time when many are just beginning to enjoy their newly restored travel freedoms, it is especially disappointing to see the Dutch government making plans to limit their movements by unilaterally and unjustly reducing operations at Schiphol Airport,” Walsh added

Ethereum’s Shanghai Upgrade to Enable Withdrawals Set for April - BLOOMBERG

MARCH 16, 2023

(Bloomberg) -- Ethereum’s next major software upgrade, which could make crypto’s biggest commercial highway more attractive to investors and developers alike, will take place around April 12. 

Called Shanghai, it will let people who pledged their Ether tokens to order transactions on the Ethereum blockchain to withdraw them. Currently, some 17.5 million of such so-called staked Ether, worth about $29 billion at current prices, can’t be accessed on the network, although the coins do earn their owners a yield.

Ethereum software developers have been working on Shanghai for months, and have finally been able to set the date after deploying a final software test earlier this week. Developers confirmed the target date during a call on Thursday.

Once Shanghai launches, that’s expected to kick off a wave of withdrawals, though they will be limited to ensure the network’s continued security. Waiting in line to withdraw could take weeks or months. However, many investors stake through crypto platforms such as Lido, which already give them some flexibility with their coins.

“I doubt we’ll see a surge of withdrawals to sell the underlying Ether,” said Henry Elder, head of decentralized finance at Wave Digital Assets. “Stakers, especially the earliest and most illiquid ones, are generally the most committed participants in the Ethereum ecosystem.”

Still, Shanghai will give investors choosing to stake their Ether more flexibility — and could potentially make Ether a more attractive investment.

“I think there could be some short-term disruption in ETH prices as the market tries to decipher withdrawal data, but ultimately this is a positive catalyst,” Elder said. “It de-risks ETH by allowing withdrawals.”   

Since users were first able to stake in late 2020, Ethereum’s price has been on a roller-coaster ride, as it roughly doubled. But many users who purchased Ether at its peak in late 2021 are deep under water and still can’t withdraw staked coins.

Ethereum went through the Merge — a software upgrade to allow staking on the main network — in September.

Aero Introduces Mobile Scanners to Eliminate Long Queues During Boarding - THISDAY

MARCH 18, 2023

BY  Chinedu Eze

Nigeria’s foremost carrier, Aero Contractors, has scored another first by introducing the latest technology for quick boarding process, known as Pro-Ranger Boarding Pass Mobile Scanners.

The airline in a statement explained that mobile scanners would expedite the boarding procedures, “thereby enhancing On Time Departure (OTP) and the scanners would allow passenger data gathered at the check-in counter to be verified at the boarding gate, thus reducing time spent to board passengers and prevent passengers with invalid boarding pass access to the aircraft.

“It will also enable production of valid and comprehensive passenger flight manifest in addition to enabling remote check-in (Mobile check-in device). This enhances efficient passenger facilitation. Aero Contractors known for its safety record and on time performance, is introducing the latest technology to improve service delivery to her customers. “ 

Meanwhile, as Aero Contractors expands its operations since resumption of service last year, it has introduced new schedule to take cognisance of adjustments on existing destinations.

Reacting to the development, the Managing Director and CEO of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi said: “Aero strives to remain ahead by always finding ways to make its customers comfortable through easy facilitations, hence the introduction of the Pro-Ranger Boarding Pass Mobile Scanners. This is a new technology recently introduced in the industry in Nigeria. It will enable passengers; especially light travellers to avoid long stay on queues during boarding process. It will also reduce the pressures encountered during boarding.

“In addition, we have introduced new flight schedule putting into consideration the preferred travel times by our customers. We have over the years built invaluable goodwill with our customers who enjoy our high safety record and derive comfort in our flights. We are poised to render the most efficient service and urge our customers to always take advantage of our enviable in-flight service.”

Explaining how the device works during a press conference held at Aero headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, the company’s Head of Ground Operations, Mr. Peter Omata, said: “This is one of the products that will enhance our mode of operation. As you are all aware, one of the cardinal things in aviation is passenger facilitation. So, we acquired the mobile Pro-rangers to improve our facilitation.It is a device that aids facilitation and it has other functionalities that make the working process seamless and will make passengers enjoy their stay or their travelling through Aero Contractors. And one of the important functions of this software is that it quickens the boarding procedures. And once the boarding procedure is enhanced, invariably our on-time performance will be efficient and there will be no delays. And it also allows the company to capture passengers’ data from the checking point at the boarding gate in an on-time manner and aggregate information.”

According to him, “The security aspect of it is that it will detect passengers if they are avoiding passes at the boarding gate; thereby enabling us to have appropriate profile for our passengers.

It also enables us also to produce a comprehensive manifest. As you all know manifest is a key part of aviation and one of those things required. So, the total number of passengers onboard must tally with what we have in the document checked in; so one other key functions of this product is that you can check-in remotely. You can check-in from any part of the airport.

“So, you mustn’t go and stand at Aero counter, we can take people off line, especially people without baggage and check them in, it makes it faster. So, by doing that we are making facilitation seamless for the traveling public. And we have started using the product, we have commenced the usage and it is user friendly and we will look at other products that will enhance the success of Aero Contractors.”

Omata said the device remained very reliable, noting that it is a web-based device. “So, if you login, once you login with your code, you can open up any flight wherever in the country.  So you will get the list of flights and the passengers on it. So, by the time we simulate it, you will see if it is 121 passengers leaving Lagos for Abuja, you will see passengers who are booked on it. And so, as you assign the seat, you will see the seat there and all the information.”

Omata further said: What this device does is that at the boarding gate, the boarding pass has a barcode, so you scan the barcode and it captures it on this system. So, you have authentic boarded passengers are the boarding gate. Like for airports like Abuja where you don’t have a definite boarding gate, you see people coming from the presidential wing, from the VIP.”

We have designed it in such a way that if you do the boarding, we swipe it at the foot of the aircraft, so we have a central point rather than staying at the foot of the aircraft and people coming from several areas to board and at the end you keep on trying to reconcile your passengers. By the time they do that at the foot of the aircraft, the manifest prints itself out,  Omata explained.

On adjusted flight schedule of the airline, the Head, Commercial Department, Aero Contractors, Mrs. Chika Ubendu said: “For the schedule, it is not that we increased frequency; it is just that we have made it more in tune with what the passengers should have. I will give you an instance as a listening airline. Asaba for instance is one destination that we had late afternoon flights. We listened to the customers who said that they prefer morning flights, so we had to tweak our schedule to sooth that. So, we might not necessarily have more frequencies or more destinations but what we want to achieve is that whatever we have is what passengers will be comfortable with. Our interest is the customers’ interest.”

Virgin Atlantic Joins SkyTeam Alliance - THISDAY

MARCH 18, 2023

Virgin Atlantic has announced that it has formally joined SkyTeam, the global airline alliance.

The accord was reached at a signing ceremony in London Thursday. The move means Virgin Atlantic becomes SkyTeam’s first and only UK member airline, enhancing the alliance’s transatlantic network and services to and from Heathrow and Manchester airports.

Virgin Atlantic customers would now benefit from a consistent, seamless customer experience, across 1,000 global destinations in over 170 countries. Customers can conveniently book every SkyTeam member flight on a single ticket, checking in with baggage just once through to their final destination.

Flying Club members have more opportunities to earn Virgin Points and Tier Points across all member airlines, accelerating both their rewards and tier status. Additionally, Flying Club members will be able to redeem hard-earned points on SkyTeam member airlines, alongside joint venture partners Delta & Air France-KLM, which include Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, China Airlines, China Eastern, Czech Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, ITA Airways, Kenya Airways, Korean Air, MEA, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines and XiamenAir.

The airline’s Flying Club members will receive host of benefits, which will enhance their journeys across the SkyTeam network. Virgin Atlantic Silver Card holders are recognised as SkyTeam Elite Members, whilst the airline’s Gold Card members have become Elite Plus.

Canada home price index declines again in February - Teranet - REUTERS

MARCH 18, 2023

OTTAWA, March 17 (Reuters) - Canadian home prices fell 0.3% in February from January, as prices dropped in seven of the 11 major markets, Teranet–National Bank National Composite House Price data showed on Friday.

The index, which tracks repeat sales of single-family homes in major Canadian markets, showed that the monthly decline - led by price drops in Toronto and Calgary - was smaller than the 1.1% decrease recorded in January over December.

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The prices - which are not seasonally adjusted - rose in four cities including Vancouver and Victoria, both in the western province of British Columbia.

Home prices fell by 4.7% in February compared to February 2022, marking the second consecutive year-over-year decline, National Bank of Canada economist Daren King said in a statement.

The Teranet index tracks closings, so it typically lags realtor sales data by three to five months.

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Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa, editing by David Ljunggren and Sandra Maler

Europe Is Running Out of Doctors and Nurses, WHO Warns - BLOOMBERG

MARCH 22, 2023

BY  Lisa Pham and Irina VilcuBloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- Europe is in the midst of a health-worker crisis that must be addressed soon as the region grapples with an aging population and a surge in chronic illnesses, according to the World Health Organization. 

“The health workforce crisis in Europe is no longer a looming threat — it is here and now,” said Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe. “If the current climate of industrial action, burnout and brain drain are anything to go by, then our health systems are in deep trouble.” 

Kluge spoke at an event in Romania where countries across Europe adopted a plan — known as the Bucharest Declaration — to help protect and support health workers, as strikes over working conditions and insufficient resources continue to ripple through the region.

More than 100,000 doctors and nurses in France walked out in November, while thousands of health-care workers in Germany went on strike last summer. In the UK, health-care workers have staged a series of industrial action since mid-December. 

The walkouts not only reflects “growing frustration and concern” among health workers across the region but are an impediment to attracting fresh talent too, said Kluge. 

“As we enter the fourth year of the pandemic, our health workers are tired, overburdened and often under-paid,” he said. “If we hope to face the multiple health challenges that lie before us, from an aging population to climate change to antimicrobial resistance to another pandemic, we need a large, well-trained and motivated health workforce.” 

A regional report published by WHO in September warned of a “ticking timebomb” threatening health systems in Europe and Central Asia and said there could be imminent collapse in key areas unless quick, concrete political actions were taken. 

The Bucharest Declaration urges governments to carry out a number of measures such as improving the recruitment and retention of staff, increasing public investment and implementing better planning.


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