High staff absences lead to security queue chaos at Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport

Unexpectedly high levels of staff absence led to delays and some passengers missing their flights at Manchester Airport this morning (April 9).

Many expressed their frustration on social media as queues stretched out of Terminal One and into the car park.

This was despite people turning up, as advised by the airport last week, three hours ahead of their departure time to allow plenty of time to pass through the security checks.

One traveller, Ryan Hoey, tweeted: “Queue for security at @manairport now stretching outside the Terminal building. As a regular user of the airport, I could describe my experiences as of late, but I usually refrain from swearing on Twitter.”

Another, Ben Leather, tweeted: “As a regular flyer I’ve never seen it this bad. Feel sorry for the overworked staff @manairport who clearly just don’t have the numbers to cope with the passenger load at the moment. Give yourself plenty of time to get through security if you’re flying anytime soon.”

People tweeted that relatives hade missed their flights because of the huge queues, while others encouraged passengers to queue jump to make their flights on time.

Others tagged in Greater Manchester Manyor Andy Burnham in their complaints to the airport and airlines.

A Manchester Airport spokesperson said: “We are aware that at times this morning, some passengers have experienced longer security queues than we would like and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

“We continue to make good progress in our recovery from the devastating impacts of the pandemic, both in terms of recruiting the number of staff we need for the summer, and the waiting times experienced by the majority of travellers. However, we are still advising customers that there will be occasions when queues will be longer than usual, as was the case for periods this morning due to unexpectedly high levels of absence experienced on the day.”

They added: “Whenever this is the case, we do all we can to minimise disruption and prioritise customers wherever possible to ensure they make their flights. When necessary, we have also taken the decision to make use of part of Terminal One’s car park in order to effectively manage queues and minimise congestion within the terminal itself.”

They reiterated the need for passengers to arrive three hours before their flight is due to depart.

Airport managing director, Karen Smart, stepped down early last month after an outcry over huge delays at the airport causing passengers to miss their flights.

The airport has been unable to replace staff who were let go, or had left, during the pandemic when flights were virtually grounded and airports ground to a halt.

Last week Manchester Airport said 60 new recruits had joined in April and around 200 new starters are expected to join this month, enabling it to open additional security lanes during peak periods and improve customer service.

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