Passengers face huge delays at Birmingham Airport due to security staff shortages

Some travellers claim they were waiting hours to get through security Credit: PA / Derek Alonza

By ITV News Central Production Journalist Hannah Norbury

Travellers at Birmingham airport are complaining after queueing for several hours to get through security, calling it 'chaos'.

One passenger said it took him more than two hours to get through security.

Derek Alonza said: "Never seen it queuing at ground floor to get on the escalators to go up to departures.

"Lots of people running through the lounge to not miss their plane.

He added: "Staff at the airport are working hard but I’ve been flying for 30 years from Birmingham and there’s certainly less of them."

One passenger wrote on social media that they'd been waiting on a plane for more than three hours at the airport.

Their comments come as airlines are suffering from staff shortages related to coronavirus sickness, leading to flights being grounded.

The travel disruption is affecting many families heading abroad for the Easter school holiday, which is the first since the UK’s Covid restrictions for international travellers were dropped.

EasyJet cancelled 62 flights scheduled for Monday, after axing at least 222 flights across Saturday and Sunday.

Some holidaymakers reported being stuck abroad with no explanation or alternative route home offered by the airline.

Al Titterington, terminal operations director for Birmingham Airport, said: "The recent lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions is leading to a dramatic upsurge in customers and, in some instances, long queues.

Travellers say it's 'chaos' and that they've waited more than two hours to pass through security at Birmingham Airport. Credit: Derek Alonza

"Last week 83% of customers flying out of Birmingham Airport were through security in less than 20 minutes, which is what we aim for. But some people have had to wait longer and we’re sorry for this.

"The cause of the problem is this: having spent the past two years running at about 30% of pre-pandemic volumes, we reduced staff numbers accordingly.

"Now we have a sudden return of people wanting to fly but we don’t yet have the right numbers of security officers to check everyone through as quickly as we or they would like at peak times."

Mr Titterington said: "We’re working to fix this. We’ve been running a big recruitment drive since January."

He adds: "We’re currently hiring and training more security officers every month until we’re up speed.

"Right now one in 10 bags are being rejected because of liquids and electrical items not being removed from bags before they go through scanners.

"Each rejected item slows up the queue for everyone, so we’d ask people to, please, make sure their baggage is compliant."