Birmingham Airport leaves thousands queuing outside for hours amid travel chaos

Birmingham Airport
Jamie  Micklethwaite

By Jamie Micklethwaite

Published: 09/05/2022

- 09:55

Updated: 09/05/2022

- 11:10

Travellers have described the situation as absolute chaos this morning

Thousands of passengers flying from Birmingham Airport were forced to wait in long queues outside for several hours as the aviation sector continues to suffer from staff shortages.

The situation on Monday morning was described as “absolute chaos” and “manic” by travellers on Twitter.

One person said it took her “two hours to get through check-in and security”.

Another threatened legal action against the airport if they miss their flight due to a “lack of management”.

Long queues have been reported at airports across the UK in recent weeks, including at Heathrow, Manchester and Stansted.

Queues at Birmingham Airport
Queues at Birmingham Airport

This has been blamed on a number of factors, including the time it takes for new ground staff to pass security clearance, staff sickness, a lack of Border Force officials and the spike in demand for travel following the end of the UK’s coronavirus restrictions.

Birmingham Airport said in a statement: “Half of the 15,000 customers flying out of BHX (Birmingham Airport) today were booked to depart in our busy dawn peak, so we took the decision to run security queues outside the terminal to avoid them getting tangled with check-in lines.

“Queues were long but managed and moving. We thank customers for their patience.

Queues at Birmingham Airport
Queues at Birmingham Airport

“As always, our message to departing customers is: Help us help you keep queues moving by removing any liquids, gels, pastes and electrical items from your bags before our security x-ray scanners.”

The airport said 43% of its employees were made redundant during the pandemic due to travel restrictions which were lifted in mid-February with no prior warning.

It added that it began a recruitment drive in November 2021.

New security officers are expected to be on duty soon after completing training.

British Airways and easyJet are continuing to cancel flights every day due to staffing issues.

It emerged over the weekend that easyJet is removing six seats from about 50 of its aircraft to enable it to operate them with three members of cabin crew rather than four, as the airline battles a shortage of staff.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, is introducing a rule to allow new aviation recruits to begin training before passing security checks, to reduce the time it takes for them to start work.

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