Qantas Airlines has added a new job responsibility for some of its senior executives: baggage handler.
The Australian airline is asking 100 executives to pitch in with baggage handling duties for three months at its Sydney and Melboure airports because it can’t hire enough workers to do the job, according to an internal memo shared widely.
Management blamed the situation on a tight labor market in Australia, which is compounded by “high levels of winter flu and Covid” according to the reports.
“We’ve been clear that our operational performance has not been meeting our customers’ expectations or the standards that we expect of ourselves — and that we’ve been pulling out all stops to improve our performance,” a Qantas spokesperson told CNN Business.
Executives who accept the challenge have to be “physically capable of moving and lifting bags of up to 32 kg (71 pounds) in weight,” Qantas chief operating officer Colin Hughes said in a note to staff, according to the memo.
Qantas asked for help from its executive ranks during Easter as well and about 200 head-office employees volunteered to temporarily fill in for overworked ground crews, according to reports.
Other airlines and airports are struggling as well.
Over the weekend more than 900 flights were canceled in the US and 6,300 were delayed due to weather related issues and staff shortages. Lost luggage has become an increasingly vexing problem for travelers.
Last week, the Department of Transportation introduced a proposal that would reimburse passengers if airlines delay flights by more than three hours for a domestic flight and at least six hours for an international flight.