Staffing problems threaten operations at Gdańsk airport

Approach controllers are employed by PAŻP, not the airport itself. (illustrative photo) Grzegorz Michałowski/PAP

Air operations at the Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport will likely be impaired on Sunday owing to lack of approach controllers.

Out of 21 approach controllers working at the airport in the Polish coastal city, nine are on sick leave. The controllers have been demanding pay rises and have complained that a broader agreement between air traffic controllers and the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PAŻP) concluded in June left them at a disadvantage compared to their peers at other airports.

Rusłana Krzemińska, PAŻP spokeswoman, told PAP on Saturday that the airport's operations will be suspended on Sunday: between 2 and 4 am, between 8 and 9 am and between 11 and 12 am. In an earlier conversation with PAP, Krzeminska quoted much longer suspension hours.

"We're surprised and appalled by the information about such a serious reduction of controller work at the Gdansk airport," the airport's spokeswoman Agnieszka Michajłow told PAP on Saturday. "In practice, it means that up to 55 planes will not land or take off in Gdańsk."

Approach controllers are employed by PAZP, not the airport itself.

They are responsible for issuing instructions to aircraft that intend to land or take off.

Welcome to The First News weekly newsletter

Every Friday catch up on our editor’s top pick of news about Poland, including politics, business, life and culture. To receive your free email subscription, sign up today.