West Midlands Mayor Richard Parker breaks silence over Birmingham Airport queue chaos

West Midlands Mayor Richard Parker has broken his silence on Birmingham Airport after weeks of travel chaos. Mr Parker has urged airport chiefs to "resolve" issues "as quickly as possible".

The Labour mayor, who has huge power when it comes to transport in the region, said BHX "needs to function smoothly". Mr Parker is chair of West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), which oversees Transport for West Midlands (TfWM).

Last month, after being elected, he promised to reform bus services in the region. And although he's not responsible for BHX's running, Mr Parker told us he had been in touch with airport chiefs to find out why it had struggled to keep waiting times and delays down in recent weeks.

Read more: Birmingham Airport queues explained as travellers stopped with 'non-compliant bags'

It comes after our readers demanded that Mr Parker "stepped up" in his role as a transport leader. One Brummie asked: "Surely the regional Mayor should step in as he’s in charge of transportation in the central area of the Midlands?"

Another said: "The silence from Richard Parker, Birmingham City Council and other local bigwigs is deafening. No accountability. No-one cares."

In response to those concerns, Mr Parker said in a statement to us on Monday: "Birmingham Airport is a vital asset, not just for the people of our region, but also our economy and needs to function smoothly.

"I have been in contact with the airport since Friday to discuss the causes of these complaints. I now urge all parties to work together and provide the airport with the support it needs to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.”

What has Birmingham Airport said?

BHX has blamed ongoing building works and liquid restrictions in place on why passengers are regularly stuck in long queues snaking outside the airport's front doors. The airport's new security hall was 'completed' weeks ago.

But BHX said that, "until further notice", passengers would only be able to carry liquids of up to 100ml as government "regulatory restrictions" were in place. Eventually passengers will be able to carry liquids of up to two litres in cabin baggage - but no date has been set for when this will be permitted.

A BHX spokesperson told us yesterday: “Following the change to liquid, paste and gels rules on Sunday, under the new government directive allowances are now set to no more than 100ml. Despite Birmingham Airport investing £60m in its new security area, it cannot use it to its full capability.

"The new security area was designed, and resourced, to accommodate the increase to two litres being carried in cabin baggage, this currently cannot be operated with the temporary restriction. In order to have full compliance to this new directive we have further amended our operating process.

"We now have ‘liquid check stations’ at all entrances to the terminal where colleagues are directly assisting passengers to ensure liquids containers over 100ml are removed. With these additional checks we have seen a large proportion of customers still arriving with liquids over 100ml in their bags and these have to be regrettably removed and disposed of.

“This morning at its peak, 18 per cent of all bags going through security were non-compliant - meaning that they had liquids over 100ml in them. When a bag is rejected by the scanner because of a liquid this can typically add up to 20 minutes to each passenger’s journey time through security."