Birmingham Airport queues 'could last months and there are not enough staff'

Birmingham Airport travellers have experienced long delays in security queues over recent weeks
-Credit: (Image: Birmingham Mail)

An insider working at Birmingham Airport says there could be months of queues amid weeks of queue chaos. The employee, who asked not to be named, spoke amid a backlash from some passengers over ongoing queue issues.

The employee claimed the airport was "understaffed". And he said workers were "struggling" and "overworked".

The BHX worker said passengers complain regularly to him about missed or delayed flights. He told BirminghamLive the situation is "really bad", with the alleged root cause being low staff levels and the time taken to complete the new security hall upgrade.

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Airport chiefs said in response that a "continual recruitment campaign for security officers" was in place. They added that missed or delayed flights were "not necessarily" the airport's fault.

The anonymous employee spoke out after a month of travel issues at BHX, with passengers left frustrated over long security queues. Some reported they had missed flights, with one holidaymaker travelling on Spring Bank Holiday blasting the airport's operations as a "shambles".

Bosses previously admitted wait times were longer than normal during peak periods, such as school half-term. Now, speaking exclusively to BirminghamLive, the employee has spoken out, saying: "It's really bad downstairs - and upstairs in departures too.

"We cannot cope. The main reason for this is the new security system.

"But the airport should have employed extra security staff to stop this from happening. We're getting a lot of delayed flights, or customers missing their flights, which is really bad. A lot of us are really overworked at the moment.

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"It doesn't seem to be slowing down. I think it will remain like this until at least the end of August and into September."

BHX completed its £60 million "state-of-the-art" security hall upgrade in May after months of construction to allow passengers to carry up to two litres of liquids in cabin baggage eventually. Despite the completed works, the airport said that "until further notice" passengers would only be able to carry liquids of up to 100ml as "partial regulatory restrictions" were in place.

The airport said the upgrade would allow it to accommodate 18 million passengers by 2033. That would up from 12m currently.

Birmingham Airport statement

A Birmingham Airport spokesperson said in response to the allegations: “The airport has invested £60 million of privately-funded money into our new security search area. This new facility boasts streamlined and simpler screening equipment to search customers’ bags.

"However, we cannot use the new screening equipment to its full capability at the moment due to a partial regulatory restriction. This is out of our control.

"The airport has continually planned for this transition from our old security area, to our new, and had considered the impact of the building works, new equipment, and the unfamiliar queuing areas. We have around a million passengers use our airport each month, the majority of whom have a good experience despite the ongoing construction works.

“In addition to the changes we have made for our customers we have also catered for our colleagues. As part of the building works a new colleague welfare area has been created to include a large breakout area, dedicated toilets, a prayer room and a quiet room.

"We have worked with our teams since the start of the development works, with colleagues inputting into the design of both the new security search hall and their welfare area, and we continue to do so. We have a continual recruitment campaign for security officers, as the process is rightly lengthy with assessment centres and classrooms scheduled every month throughout the year to support the recruitment and training of new colleagues.”

On passengers missing flights, the airport added: "There can be a number of reasons why customers miss flights - which are not necessarily attributable to the airport. Customers can contact us via our website in case of any concerns or queries and our agents will investigate alongside our partner airlines."

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