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Wednesday, Oct 05, 2022

Manchester Airport: More delays blamed on lack of staff

Manchester Airport: More delays blamed on lack of staff

A lack of staff at Manchester Airport has led to people facing long waits for baggage collection, as the airport struggles with increased demand.

The airport has suffered delays for weeks, with hours-long queues for security causing some to miss flights.

On Saturday, returning passengers were told there were not enough staff to get the bags through - or even to let them disembark from planes in some cases.

The airport said it was struggling to recruit and train staff to meet demand.

The difficulties come as Easter holidays begin in parts of the UK, and demand increases after the removal of all Covid travel restrictions to enter the UK.

Passengers said they were told in the baggage hall that there were not enough staff to get the bags through.

One man told the BBC a member of staff had said "they've got rid of everyone [staff] and no one wants to come back".

Other people complained on Twitter that they were left stuck on planes because "there's no ground crew available to let us off".

The issues at the airport, which is partly owned by Manchester City Council, have been blamed on a "failure of management" by one councillor.

The airport apologised to passengers whose experience had "fallen short of the standards they expected".

It said it was experiencing some of the busiest periods in two years and advised people to arrive at the "earliest time recommended by their airline".

It said it was "under-resourced" and was struggling to recruit more staff, who take "a lot of time to train, up to eight weeks", adding there were shortages of baggage handlers and handling agents.

The airport is "exploring a number of short-term measures" to alleviate delays, including the use of agency staff.

On Friday, the Airport Operators Association (AOA) said its members had been trying to hire for new roles following job losses and staff departing during the pandemic.

But it warned recruitment problems and Covid-related staff absences could put operations at airports under strain.

AOA chief executive Karen Dee said at peak time passengers "may not have the experience they are used to".

Manchester Airport has previously said that 400 new recruits would start at the airport in April.

Separately, Heathrow Airport said it had a very busy day on Saturday, with congestion in parts of the airport.

A Heathrow spokesperson said it was "expecting to see passenger numbers not seen since early March 2020" over the coming weeks and that the airport has deployed extra staff across to help limit delays.

People have been facing long queues to get through security at Manchester Airport for weeks


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