This week: Easter strikes predicted & 200 thefts daily at JFK

Time flies; it’s already Sunday again here in Melbourne and with that time for another weekly airport news round-up. This week we saw – surprise, surprise – more strike news (but don’t worry, it wasn’t the chocolate bunnies that went on strike…), an article about stolen goods and a pilot that freaked out mid-flight.

Let’s talk about that elephant in the room: The JetBlue pilot that flipped out and forced its jet to an early landing. It happened on Tuesday on a flight from New York (IATA: JFK) to Las Vegas (IATA: LAS), when the pilot a was running up and down the aisle raving about terrorists and bombs after his frightened co-pilot locked him out of the cockpit, wrote the New York Daily News. The plane made an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas (IATA: AMA) an hour later.

Regular readers of this column will know that the threat of strikes is a reoccurring topic. It’s therefore not surprising that we have two strike stories for you this week. The first one come from London as the BBC reported on Thursday that baggage handlers at Stansted Airport in Essex (IATA: STN) have voted to strike over Easter in a row over pay. According to the article, union members backed industrial action with a three-day strike between Good Friday to Easter Monday. Swissport said the airport would be open as normal and passengers should travel as no disruption was expected. Well, let’s see about that!

The second news article came from Germany. Yes, we wrote about this particular dispute numerous times already. One week there is strike, then it’s been put down, then it’s on again. And on again it certainly was when on Tuesday Lufthansa had to cancel over 400 flights due to strikes by baggage handlers in German airports including Munich (IATA: MUC) and Frankfurt (IATA: FRA), reported the Washington Post & Bloomberg.

And to finish the round-up off, we move to the number of the week: 200. An exclusive CBS report this week revealed that at JFK airport in New York (IATA: JFK) more than 200 items are stolen every day from checked baggage at New York’s largest airport. Baggage handlers, jetway workers and even security people are accused to be all in on the ongoing scam to steal from the travellers. “The belly of the airplane has become like a flea market for airport employees. They go in there and go through all the luggage unencumbered, unchecked,” JFK security lawyer Kenneth Mollins said in the article.

That’s all we have this week – have a save, theft-free week!

[Photo from Flickr – Some rights reserved by LexnGer]