Birmingham Airport security queue leaves passengers 'running through terminal' to catch flights

Birmingham Airport has warned that hiring new staff "takes time" as passengers continue to complain about long queues. Travellers have reported waiting over an hour and a half to get through airport security and described holidaymakers "running" through the terminal to make their flights.

Photographs shared at the end of February showed what looked to be hundreds of passengers queuing for security checks, which BHX put down to staff shortages and an increase in passenger numbers. A recruitment drive was launched to help cope with a forecast surge in demand, but there have been complaints of further delays two weeks on.

Dave Morgan reported waiting over an hour and a half in 'zig zag' queues of around 300 people on Saturday (March 5). The 56-year-old said the terminal building was "deserted" when he finally got through security as passengers were "running" straight to their flights.

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"The advice from Ryanair said to get to the airport two and a half hours early instead of two," said Dave, from Stourbridge. "We had already heard there were queues so we thought the best thing to do is to get there early.

"My wife and I haven't been away for two and a half years for obvious reasons, but we decided to do a short break away and booked to go Tenerife. Our flight was at 12.30pm and we got to the airport around 9am.

"We wandered upstairs about 10am only to be hit by a huge queue. We thought originally the queue was just around the one corner but it was zig-zagged this way and that way, backwards and forwards, all the way.

"Someone kept coming on over the Tannoy and saying 'we apologise for the delay', but there was no explanation why. That was my problem.

"Then they would say if your flight is about to go, we'll pull you forward to the front of the queue. But then droves of people would be pulled to the front, which delayed everyone else.

"Bear in mind there's old people, frail people and people with children in the queue and no one could get out of the queue to go to the toilet. It was abysmal, really. People were very agitated, there was lots of sighing and obvious frustration.

Birmingham Airport security queue leaves passengers 'running through terminal' to catch flights

"When we finally got to the top of the slope, less than half of the security lines were open. It was completely undermanned.

"Then when we finally got through, the airport was deserted. They must be losing so much revenue at the shops because no one had time to stop. We'd booked into a lounge and we had just enough time to sit down and have some breakfast then we had to rush to the gate, we were one of the last four people to get on.

"People were running to their gates, out of breath and panting. It put me off going away. It's a terrible start to everyone's holidays to have that stress."

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Birmingham Airport said the uptake for travel has "accelerated far beyond" projected passenger forecasts. It said recent recruitment fairs have been successful, but "training and onboarding does take time".

An airport spokesperson said: “Aviation over the last few years has been severely impacted by Covid-19 and resulted in the loss of many job roles across the whole airport site. However, we are now entering a period of recovery where we are seeing passengers figures rise significantly.

“During the last few years we have planned for the restart of travel numerous times, and each time there has been a hurdle that has halted this restart. However, with the complete relaxation of testing for fully vaccinated arrivals in to England, and the relaxation of restrictions on some outbound destinations, the uptake for travel has accelerated far beyond any projected passenger forecasts.

"Over the last six months we have held recruitment fairs to attract new employees to the airport and while these are successful, training and onboarding does take time to ensure our employees are fully trained for their roles. We continue to recruit, and this is a long term strategy, to ensure that we can offer the customer service levels that our customers have come to expect from Birmingham Airport.

"Our advice to our customers is to arrive in line with your airline’s check-in opening time. This advice also applies to customers who have checked in online too.”

Tell us about your airport experiences since Covid in the comments below.

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