Birmingham Airport has released its latest queue update. The travel hub said 17,000 passengers were expected to fly through the travel hub today.
The BHX operation has been struggling to cope with an increase in demand now Covid travel restrictions are no more. And chief executive Nick Barton admitted chaos would continue amid the staffing crisis.
But things do seem to be improving and last week praise flew in for “amazing” staff after weeks of chaos. Passengers reported “sailing through” security and enjoying breakfast without any delay.
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Today, May 23, a Birmingham Airport spokesperson issued a statement. They said: “We have 17,000 customers flying out of BHX today (May 23). Half of them were through security screening and airborne before 0900.
“We thank customers who presented compliant baggage at our pre-flight security screening today – with liquids, gels, pastes and larger electrical items removed. This helps keep everyone moving. It also helps our security officers in their vital task of keeping everyone safe.”
As a result of travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic, a staggering 43 per cent of the airport’s employees were made redundant to cut costs. Bosses say that ministers fully lifted Covid travel restrictions with little warning in March.
There is currently a huge recruitment drive underway with the aim of increasing numbers of key roles, including security officers. Speaking to BBC Radio WM, Mr Barton blamed a 12-week “lag” between recruiting new employees and making them operational.
He said: “It’s still the legacy of the industry being turned back on by the Government’s removal of the rules in mid-February.”
Talking about the airport’s recruitment drive, he added: “It didn’t get very much traction because, until the industry started to show it had a future, a lot of people didn’t want to come and start their careers with us. We got well under way with recruitment in February but, because we need to have them security-cleared, only then can we start training them. There’s a lag of around 12 weeks.
“We are seeing a rapid recovery in aviation, which is a blessing, but it’s catching up with the staff to make sure we can get back to our normal very good service levels. Well over 99 per cent of people caught their flights this weekend against that incredibly busy backdrop. We have now recruited all the people we need for the next three months.
“They’re in training, that’s the key thing. They are not available for use until we’ve gone through the full training process. By the end of May, we should be in a much better place in terms of that resource. The key thing [for passengers] is to turn up when their airline says to, not earlier.”
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