It's like a third world country': Passengers furious at Manchester Airport 'shambles'

The Manchester Airport was left at a stand still following a major power cut
-Credit: (Image: MEN)

Holiday-makers voiced their frustrations after a major power cut caused chaos at the Manchester Airport. Passengers were turned away and massive queues formed after flights out of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 were cancelled for a period of time on Sunday (June 23).

The airport was left at a standstill as exasperated passengers were stuck in winding queues at check-in desks that had stopped working due to the outage. Outside, at the entrance of both terminals, unlucky flyers could be seen despondently sat in the sun awaiting their taxi back home, just hours after arriving at the airport, excited for a getaway.

Married couple, Liz and Ian Ainley were one of those. The pair were supposed to be on a flight to Lisbon for a three week trip to a home they own in the Portuguese city.

Instead, they were waiting for transport back home after their airline advised them that the 10.50am flight they were set to board would not be running due to the technical difficulties. The advice given to Liz, Ian and many others was to return home and liaise with their airline about the next available flight to their holiday destination.

Speaking to the MEN, an angry Liz described the situation as a "shambles". "We knew there was going to be delays when we got to the airport and saw around 2,000 people outside calling taxis." She told the MEN.

Liz and Ian Ainley
Liz and Ian Ainley were turned away from the airport following the flight cancellation -Credit:MEN

"We thought we would still be able to get on our plane and we got through to security. The plane was leaving Lisbon to come to Manchester, they first said it was delayed and then they said it's been cancelled.

"We're trying to sort out another flight tomorrow now, and I've been on the phone for 30 minutes and getting through to no-one. It's alright for us because we have a house there, but what about other people who are only going away for a few days or have kids."

“You’d think they’d have things in place in case something like this happens.” Ian interjected.

One family who was determined not to let the airport chaos ruin their holiday was the Stones family. From Newcastle, they were due to fly to Turkey for a birthday trip celebrating dad, Paul's, 60th.

"I've got a headline for you, man's 60th birthday ruined by Manchester Airport." Said Paul.

"I'm lucky that my partner has saved the day."

Speaking to the MEN, Paul's partner Lisa said: "We should have boarded at 10:20am, then the man just stood up and said our flight was cancelled and to contact whoever we booked with. That was it.

"Everything was saying it was on track and then we asked for snippets of information and it was like Chinese whispers. We didn't know anything officially until 10:30am. It was sort of like ‘you’re on your own now.'"

"We've had to cancel flights, we've booked parking, we've come from the North East. So I said, why don't we book flights elsewhere, one way, and still have our holiday with our children and we can book the return out there."

The Stones family made alternative plans
The Stones family made alternative plans -Credit:MEN

Norma and John Owens from Liverpool were scheduled for an 11am flight to Greece with the family when they were told it wasn't going ahead. The grandparents said that the chaos had turned them off flying from Manchester Airport for the foreseeable future.

"They were all in a briefing and then they all come out and just dispersed. There was no-one really to ask. " Said Owen.

"There was a couple of people about, but the amount of people that come out the room wasn't the amount of people that was helping."

"This is why we don't fly too often." Said Norma. "We normally just do little hotels, the Lake District is fabulous and Yorkshire is lovely. My advice would be to stay in Britain!"

In Terminal 2 it was a similar scene of stagnant queues and restless travellers. Some check-in desks had been abandoned by passengers and were instead held by quadrants of luggage put together by airline staff, who at this point, is all they could do.

Husband and wife, Kim and Kevin Perry were waiting in Terminal 2 ready for their holiday to Greece that had already been delayed from setting off at around 3pm to 7pm. Kim, a nervous traveller said: “I’m already a nervous flyer so this isn’t great. This a major airport, you’d have thought they would have a lot more in place than just this.”

Kim and Kevin Perry
Kim and Kevin Perry were left waiting for their flight -Credit:MEN

Another disgruntled passenger who was was left unimpressed added: “This is like a third world country. How can something like this happen?”.

According to reports the outage hit the airport in the early hours of Sunday morning (June 23). Power was restored, however, baggage and security systems were affected.

In an update at lunchtime, the airport announced that all flights from Terminals 1 and 2 were being cancelled "until further notice".

Airline easyJet, which operates flights from Terminal 1, said there were “very long queues” for security and disruption to hold baggage processing, meaning passengers could board flights only with cabin luggage.

It said: “Although outside of our control, we would like to apologise for any inconvenience experienced as a result. We are doing all we can and working closely with the airport team to minimise the disruption.”

Meanwhile, a number of arriving flights were being diverted to other airports. An Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi Zayed International Airport was diverted to Birmingham Airport.

The airport said: “We apologise for any inconvenience and aim to restore normal service as soon as possible.” The boss of Manchester Airport has since issued an apology.

Chris Woodroofe, managing director at Manchester Airport
Chris Woodroofe, managing director at Manchester Airport -Credit:MAG

In a video shared by Manchester Airport on X - formerly Twitter - its managing director, Chris Woodroofe, issued his "sincere apologies" to those impacted.

He said there had been "a big power spike" in the airport's electrical system following "a failure".

"That's damaged some really key equipment for our departure security and our departures baggage systems," he added. "That's meant Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 haven't been able to depart aircraft today.

"As a result, we haven't had those aircraft be able to land either as arrivals because there's no space to park those aircraft on the airfield."

Mr Woodrofe said the airport was working with airlines to book passengers on future flights.

"It's a very difficult situation, I couldn't be more sorry," he said, adding that he expects the airport to return to "normal operations" tomorrow.