Government Accelerates Vetting for Aviation Industry Staff

The UK government has successfully accelerated the vetting process for new employees in the aviation industry, new figures show. The drawn-out vetting process was a significant contributor to the disruptions faced by airports this year, as it meant they couldn’t hire staff quickly enough to meet the demand for travel.

Vetting Process Accelerated

Statistics show that the mandatory aviation sector security checks are being processed in record time as the industry hires more staff for the summer holiday season. The results come after a government initiative to stem airport disruptions, including a 22-point plan published last week.

Queues at Gatwick due to staff shortages
Queues at Gatwick due to staff shortages | © BBC news

Following government measures, 97% of accreditation checks are completed in around five days. Additionally, Counter-Terrorist checks in the aviation sector are now being processed in under ten days on average, a significant improvement from March, when the average turnaround was 20 days. The improvements came after the government introduced measures to prioritise aviation sector applications in light of the travel chaos.

Staff can be Trained Sooner.

As well as speeding up the vetting process, the government has also given airports and airlines more flexibility to train staff whilst waiting for the security checks to be completed. Following a change in the law, teams can begin training on certain modules whilst their background checks are still ongoing, speeding up the onboarding process.

James Scarle, British Airways Cabin Crew Staff can now start training whilst awaiting their security vetting
Staff can now start training whilst awaiting their security vetting | © Valery Collins

On top of all this, HM Revenue and Customs history letters can now be used as a suitable reference check too, making it easier for applicants to apply. When Travel Radar spoke to Heathrow’s Chief of Staffing last month, he said that the process of hiring a new employee could take up to 12 weeks due to the training and vetting required. The changes to the law will make it easier for airports like Heathrow to hire new staff in time for a busy summer.

No Temporary Worker Visas

Ministers rejected calls to issue temporary visas for aviation workers to solve the worker shortage, as staff shortages are not exclusive to the UK but pervasive all across Europe and the US too. Whether Brexit has played a role in the airport staffing crisis is a contentious issue within the industry.

EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren believes it has played a significant role and claims easyJet now has to reject 35-40% of applications due to nationality issues. Meanwhile, Minister for Aviation Robert Courts said that it was “not likely” that Brexit had an impact on the staff shortages.

easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren says staff shortages due to brexit
easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren | © Reuters

The ministers are right about the staff shortages affecting the rest of the world, too; even on the other side of the globe, Australia has suffered from a lack of airport staff. But with Irish carrier Ryanair currently serving the most passengers it’s ever had with comparatively few disruptions; it’s hard to completely dismiss claims that Brexit has played a role in the staffing crisis.

Whatever the truth of the matter is, the new government measures will be a great relief for the aviation industry as they approach their busiest season.

What are your thoughts on the government speeding up the vetting process? Let us know in the comments below!

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Josh McMinn
Josh McMinn
Jr Reporter - Josh is an Jr. Aviation Reporter at Travel Radar covering the latest industry news, developments and passenger experiences. Outside of reporting, Josh is a talented artist and camera operator with experience spanning several industries.


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