Birmingham Airport announces ‘huge increase in passenger numbers’ causing long security queues
Birmingham Airport is launching a large-scale recruitment drive to deal with an influx of holidaymakers since Covid testing rules were eased. Several travelers have taken to Twitter to complain about long wait times of over an hour to pass through airport security this week.
Photos showed hundreds of passengers queuing for the security point on Thursday. Travelers said they had to walk through the terminal to make their flights, which took off late due to the delays.
The airport’s workforce has been reduced by 43% since the start of the pandemic. An airport spokesman said the queues were the result of a “huge increase” in passenger numbers since Covid testing guidelines were relaxed.
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Recent recruiting efforts have seen “great uptake,” the airport said. However, the number of staff is still not sufficient to cope with the increase in the number of passengers.
Clare Elsby, 56, was on a flight to Belfast that evening when she said only two of the security lanes were open. She said: “I was in the queue for at least an hour.
“I had already checked in and as soon as I rounded the corner I encountered a queue of around 200 people, maybe more.
“Some were very old and had no place to sit. We were all stuck there, standing in this queue.
“People were frustrated because there was no communication while we waited to find out what the problem was and when I finally got to the security point only two lines were open. To be fair to the staff, they were working hard, but it just took so long to pass.
“No one had time to stop at duty frees or concessions. Everyone was literally rushing out the door.”
Gerry Bolger, 50, was on his way to Paris on Thursday afternoon. He said: “I arrived at the airport much earlier than necessary, but I would say there were at least four flights stuck there, so a backlog of around 400 people.
“There were only five of the 14 security lanes open. I finally made it through 20 minutes before my flight closed. People were running to catch their flight.”
With passenger numbers expected to increase further in the coming months, Birmingham Airport is launching a mass recruitment campaign to meet forecast demand. A job fair takes place on March 3 to present available positions.
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An airport spokesperson said: “As testing has eased and passengers benefiting from easier overseas travel, we have seen a huge increase in passenger numbers, which has sometimes resulted in queues at airports. Aviation has been severely impacted by the pandemic and as a result, our workforce has been reduced by 43%.
“The airport is implementing a large-scale recruitment campaign to meet the expected increase in demand for 2022. Although we have seen strong demand, this does not yet match our passenger numbers. We have our second job fair of the year on March 3, which will showcase the roles available on the site.
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