(Bloomberg) -- Air France-KLM says travel will be smooth in coming months after a summer of chaos last year, with the stakes higher in France as the 2024 Olympic Games near.
“We are fully staffed as an airline and the airport is really much better staffed,” Chief Executive Officer Ben Smith said in an interview in Istanbul. “It’s an opportunity to get ready for the Olympics in Paris in 2024. There’s a lot of effort from the French state to kind of do a practice run this summer.”
Airlines were forced to scrap thousands of flights last year as airports shrank schedules in response to a staffing crisis, with the situation exacerbated by strikes among pilots, cabin crew, baggage handlers and others pressing for higher pay. Aeroports de Paris, which runs the city’s major airports, also faced stoppages.
Paris is getting ready to host millions of visitors for next year’s Olympics Games, with the opening ceremony alone expected to draw some 600,000 spectators along the Seine river. This is raising worries about security and the capacity of the city’s infrastructure to handle such large numbers of tourists.
Read more: Paris Olympics Plan Has Eiffel Tower Volleyball, Seine Swimming
The French government has been boosting the number of border control officers deployed in airports and Aeroports de Paris has been adding automated rapid border crossing airlocks. Still, long lines are still frequent for document checks of both outbound and inbound passengers at Charles de Gaulle, for example.
Staffing difficulties in the hospitality sector and repeated strikes among French air traffic controllers also continue to disrupt air travel, with consequences throughout Europe, leading to additional worries for travel in 2024.
Read more: Sporadic Strikes in France Are Causing European Flight Chaos
Still, the Air France-KLM CEO remains bullish on the prospects for clients of the group’s airlines this summer.
“We are in much better shape in terms of staffing, the facilities, the security staff, the border controls,” he said.
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