Manchester airport has provided what it says is a “positive update” on staff recruitment and security waiting times.
The airport is one of several in the UK to have experienced delays and cancellations in recent weeks, as a result of staff shortages and soaring demand.
Last month MAG’s CEO Charlie Cornish apologised for the queues and congestion, and warned that disruption would continue in the months to come due to ongoing staff shortages.
Cornish advised passengers to arrive at Manchester airport three hours before their flight, and that advice continues, although the airport said that security waiting times are improving with 90 per cent of passengers taking less than 30 minutes to get through security checks in the last two weeks.
The airport said that 500 new recruits are currently going through security training and vetting processes, with 60 having joined the operation in April, and another 200 set to start this month.
Highlighting the challenges of increasing demand, the airport said that passenger volumes had grown to 79 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, compared to just 40 per cent in January, meaning that it was now serving around three times as many passengers each week that at the start of the year.
Aside from recruitment the airport said that it had fully reopened Terminal Three to help ease congestion, and had launched a new ‘Take Time, Take Care, Take Flight’ campaign to help travellers refamiliarise themselves with processes like security rules.
It said that “rejected bags and trays can add, on average, an additional 12 minutes to a person’s security process, which when multiplied by the thousands of passengers flying through soon adds up to lengthy delays that can easily be avoided”.
Overall the airport said that while it is “still experiencing longer queues at times, these are happening less frequently and they are being cleared relatively quickly”.
Last month a The Transport Select Committee report concluded that “It appears unfair for the government to blame the aviation industry for a lack of readiness, when the government failed to provide the notice and certainty requested by the industry”.
Commenting on the news Ian Costigan, interim managing director of Manchester Airport, said:
“We want to make sure that customers get away on their travels, so everyone at Manchester Airport is focused on bringing in the extra resources we need to continue operating our full flight schedule.
“It is encouraging to see new staff joining us as a result of our ongoing recruitment drive, and we have seen security waiting times reduce in recent weeks.
“The last few weeks have been challenging but the team on the ground has done a great job in getting passengers through security more quickly, and I would like to thank all colleagues for their hard work and dedication.
“As we continue to recover, we are reminding customers to arrive at the airport three hours before their flight and to ensure they are familiar with all security rules. While the majority of people will get through security in less than 30 minutes, customers need to allow time for check-in and the possibility that security queues may be longer at peak times.
“All of these things will help passengers move through the airport quickly and easily, which is our ultimate goal.”