Birmingham Airport denies ‘two-hour security wait’ claims giving own ‘max’ & ‘average’ times

Under fire Birmingham Airport bosses have denied long wait claims reported by passengers on numerous occasions and witnessed by our reporter twice in a week. BirminghamLive has been reporting on long queues to get through security, which first surfaced in May and have been occurring almost daily on June.

A couple reported a one hour 45 minute wait on Sunday, June 9 and days earlier on Thursday, June 6 a one hour 17 minute delay was reported. While another said they had been in the queue for two hours and had not made the lifts to take them to the upstairs queuing toward the security scanning hall on Monday, June 17.

Our reporter, Nick Horner has flown out of Birmingham Airport twice in less than a week. First on Sunday June 16, with a 7.45am flight, allowing what he thought ample three hours and 20 minutes, which was quickly eaten into with a precise one hour 53 minute wait to get through security, from back of the queue to getting to the entrance to the duty-free shop.

Read more: BHX gives new 100ml liquids advice as passengers question rule

His article on the queue can be seen here, with a video showing the full extent of the downstairs queue and going through the security queue wait at Dusseldorf Airport, a stark comparison. His X thread on the queue, has been read by more than 100,000 people.

And a second trip (both times to Germany to watch England) on Thursday (June 20), this time at 9.10am, arriving at the back of the queue at 6am. This time security queue wait was one hour and 15 minutes. An improvement, but no match for the 11-minute time at Dusseldorf to get through security and 20 minutes at a busy Frankfurt airport on Friday (June 21).

A noticeable difference the second time was an extra bag scanning machine or lane in operation – 20 per cent more capacity. Plus it was a weekday and not a weekend.

BirminghamLive has asked Birmingham Airport a string of questions on the issues passengers have raised with us and on social media. We have a full story on this coming soon.

But one reply said wait times were not as bad as suggessted, something our reporter has taken great objection to, having taken photos both ends as ‘evidence’ of the queue time.

Read more: I flew from Birmingham Airport and the journey back to BHX staggered me

Our question to BHX staff on what may have affected the wait was asking why two bag scanning machines were not in use. on Sunday, June 16. The question was asked before Nick went to Germany the second time - when six machines were used and the wait dramatically dropped.

We asked: “Why were only 5 lanes in use on Sunday (June 16) when the queue was two hours long? Will there be a time when all 7 are up and fully running?”

And in response BHX denied the long queue times our reporter experienced that day saying the maximum delay was ‘less than an hour’. And the airport also claiming the average wait for 75 per cent of passengers is ‘less than 20 minutes’.

The airport's reply in full: “The queue was not two hours on Sunday. Seventy five per cent of our customers travelling through waited less than 20 minutes for security. Even at our very busy peak in the morning the queue was less than 60 minutes to access security.

“Lane usage is based on demand and throughput of passengers. At the time you reference, three in four passengers were being processed in less than 20 minutes.”