Birmingham Airport: ‘Chaos’ as travellers face long queues


Thousands of travellers have faced hours of long queues at Birmingham Airport.

Passengers described the situation as “absolute chaos” and “manic” as lines snaked outside of the airport terminal.

Birmingham Airport said queues were long on Monday morning, but only 23 out of 7,500 passengers missed flights.

Travellers at Manchester Airport have also reported long queues on social media. Bosses there have previously blamed staff shortages.

Birmingham Airport said the decision was taken to run queues for security outside the terminal building to prevent those becoming “tangled” with check-in queues.

The scenes come just over two months before Birmingham hosts the 2022 Commonwealth Games, with more than one million spectators expected at events across the region.

A video showing the queues outside the airport was filmed by one of the company’s drivers.

“Most people have been booking 30 to 40 minutes earlier than normal but now customers have seen that we’ve been inundated by them bringing their bookings forward,” he said.

Birmingham Airport said it was expecting 15,000 passengers on Monday, but half of those were booked on flights departing around its “busy dawn peak”.

In a later statement, a spokesperson said 23 passengers out of 7,500 missed their flights due to the queues.

“Of the 7,500 customers booked to fly out of Birmingham Airport’s in today’s dawn peak, 99.7% successfully caught their flights,” they said.

“Anyone who missed was rebooked.”

Long queues have become a regular feature in recent weeks at several airports, including Manchester, Heathrow and Stansted.

A number of factors have been blamed, including staff shortages, a lack of Border Force officials and the spike in demand for travel as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in the UK and further afield.

With the disruption over the Easter holidays largely blamed on staff shortages, airports insist new recruits – such as security staff – are starting to come through the system.

And a law change aimed at speeding up the process should come into effect later this month.

But the fact we’re still seeing queue flare-ups in some places, shows the issues caused by the workforce crunch cannot be solved overnight.

The industry will be hoping that things become smoother by the summer holidays.

Aviation businesses desperately need a successful peak season – and do not want passengers to be put off booking by pictures of lengthy queues.

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Olivia Wilson
By Olivia Wilson


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