Passenger experience improving at Manchester Airport

Pressures on passenger traffic at Manchester Airport have eased, the operator has claimed.

In an update on its handling of access and security issues, and following the break-up of all schools for summer holidays within the airport’s catchment area, it revealed that more than 3.5 million people are set to travel through the site this summer – the busiest period since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

In April this year, former airport managing director, Karen Smart, stepped down after weeks of disruption to passenger flows, caused by low staff levels and delays in recruitment of security staff.

Since then, the airport has employed more than 600 new colleagues since the start of the year, to overcome some of the issues it faced earlier in the year, and to ensure it can operate all of its airlines’ planned schedules this summer.

Today (August 1) it revealed that in July, 92% of people have passed through security in under 30 minutes – a marked improvement on prior months. This last week, more than 95% of passengers got through security in under 30 minutes and more than three quarters of people in less than 15 minutes.

The airport said it continues to work closely with all the third parties across its site that are responsible for other processes, like baggage, check in, immigration etc to provide support where necessary.

It also continues to reinforce its advice of arriving three hours before a flight, no earlier or later, which can often add to the issue and create unnecessary queues.

Ian Costigan, chief operating officer of Manchester Airport, said: “As we head into the school holidays and the peak of summer season, we wanted to provide an update to passengers to reassure them before they travel through Manchester Airport.

“We have made huge progress since April, having seen 600 people start work in security since the beginning of the year, with a further 280 waiting to clear background checks and start.

“And we are pleased to report that, as staff numbers have grown, the experience provided to the vast majority of our passengers has improved. We are also working closely with third parties across the airport to support their operations.”

He added: “As our recruitment continues and more people join the operation, by the autumn we should be back to an improved experience that people are looking for from Manchester Airport, and in a much better place for summer 2023.”

He paid tribute to airport staff for their response to the “biggest crisis our industry has ever faced.”

The airport said on time performance, which is often outside its control, has seen a one per cent increase compared with June.

Unlike airports like Heathrow, Manchester has not enforced any cancellations or reductions in airport capacity and said it is committed to helping airlines fly the schedules they are confident they can deliver.

It suggested three tips for passengers using the airport this summer:

  • Arrive three hours before your flight – no earlier or later. Arriving earlier means passengers might create an unnecessary queue as check in or security might not be open, or they could end up being in front of people who have flights departing earlier than them.
  • Ensure you are familiar with all the rules for security, especially if you have not flown in a long time. This includes making sure all liquids, gels and pastes in hand luggage are all under 100ml and in a clear plastic resealable bag. The airport has these available free of charge. Plus, ensure large electricals are out to go into a tray – this includes tablets and laptops and also anything with a plug attached.
  • Plan your journey to the airport. There are a lot of road closures, roadworks and ongoing issues with the rail network so plan how you will get there in advance, and if using one of the airport’s car parks make sure you book this in advance to get the best price.

The airport also revealed the top destinations this summer are: Palma, Antalya, Dalaman, Dublin and Alicante.