Passengers arriving at Manchester Airport were once again confronted by queues for security which snaked through Terminal One, out of the doors and into the car park on Thursday morning. Following similar scenes on Wednesday evening, travelers shared pictures, and their woes, on social media as they feared missing their flights.
It’s the fourth time this month the Manchester Evening News has reported on queues for either Passport Control or security after receiving complaints from readers, amid ‘unpredictable’ passenger levels as the industry makes a rapid recovery from Covid. The airport said that it has experienced up to 60 per cent of customer bags being rejected as they pass through security today and yesterday due to restricted items.
BBC News presenter Kelly Foran posted a video of the queue she was stuck in. “Welcome to the Manchester Airport queue for security ‘, she said.
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Another passenger added: “You’re useless. Absolute carnage. Over 2 hours to get through security apparently. People missing flights.”
Meanwhile, some passengers were dreading what may lay in store in the days ahead.
Ged Smith Tweeted: “Taking my autistic son on a 6am flight Saturday morning for first family holiday in 3 years. Can you help us avoid these queues?”
As the hub welcomes back an increasing number of travelers amid the easing of pandemic restrictions, the Manchester Evening News has reported on a number of ‘chaotic’ days where bosses have struggled to cope with demand. The MEN reported on March 4 about queues at Passport Contro l, while on March 6 t here were long lines for both Passport Control, run by the Home Office, and security. On March 7, security queues were said to be more than two hours long.
On Wednesday night, when queues stretched back into the Terminal One car park, the hub issued an apology, blaming a ‘combination of factors’ including more passengers than expected and a large number of bags being rejected at security. But following a raft of redundancies during the pandemic, it’s understood staffing continues to be a major issue.
This was referenced in the airport’s response on Wednesday when bosses said they had deployed from other parts of the operation to assist in security – although they emphasized that this was due to the ‘rapid recovery’ of international travel which had made it ‘much more difficult ‘to predict passenger volumes, and therefore staffing requirements.
However, the Manchester Evening News also reported earlier this month how firefighters had been asked to work on the baggage belts at Arrivals to boost a flagging workforce amid a major recruitment drive by the hub. Asked again about the queues on Thursday, a Manchester Airport spokesman said: “At times yesterday and this morning, security queues in Terminal One have been significantly longer than we would like due to a combination of factors.
“With the rapid recovery of international travel, it has been much more difficult to predict passenger volumes based on the flights that are due to depart. We have seen more people than we were expecting, which has put a considerable strain on our operation.
“This has been compounded by up to 60% of customer bags being rejected as they passed through security because they contained restricted items – a much higher rate than we typically experience.
“Our colleagues have been working tirelessly to safely process passengers as quickly as they can and we would liek to thank them for their dedication. We have deployed staff from other parts of the operation to assist in security and, wherever possible, we have prioritized customers within the queue in order to ensure they make their flights.
“We would like to apologise to those impacted by these challenges and assure them we are doing all we can to rectify the situation.
“It is likely waiting times will continue to be longer than we would like today, and we would urge anyone due to travel through Manchester Airport to arrive at the earliest time recommended by their airline and to ensure they are as prepared as they can be to pass through security. “