Former Manchester Airport worker quit over 'concern for passenger safety'

Credit: MEN Media

Manchester Airport worker, who quit his job over what he called "dangerous" and "chaotic" operations, says he fears for the safety of passengers.

Ray Ellis, a father-of-three and grandfather from Wythenshawe, south Manchester, said this is the first job he has ever walked out of and that he has resigned in protest.

The 54-year-old's decision comes after weeks of problems related to security queues, baggage pile-ups, and flight delays compounded by a staffing crisis.

Airport bosses say they have faced recruitment problems and warned queues could continue amid the start of busy summer schedules and the ending of Covid restrictions.

Some of the queues at security at Manchester Airport. Credit: MEN Media

Ray Ellis started working at Manchester Airport in 1994, handling baggage and aircraft, and up until recently worked as a trolley operative.

He also runs a commercial clearance company and says he is trained and experienced in health and safety.

Mr Ellis believes the airport should reduce the number of flights until they find staff to fill roles. He said: "I am health and safety through and through. I am very well trained and used to be a health and safety rep at the airport as well as a trainer. 

"I have worn many caps there and I know how things should be run. They are not being run in the way they should be. 

"I am making this point and speaking out because I am genuinely concerned for passenger safety."

Ray Ellis has worked at Manchester Airport since 1994. Credit: MEN Media

Mr Ellis says he has contacted Manchester City Council, which has shares in the airport, the Mayor of Greater Manchester's office, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Department for Transport.Mr Ellis said: "It is the first job at the airport that I have walked out on. It is dreadful at the moment and getting dangerous."The whistleblower added: "I resigned because of the chaotic way the airport is operating. I want to shout as loud as possible about it because I am a passenger as well. Security is not being taken seriously."He also claimed over-crowding and poorly laid out customer lines and queue barriers were compromising safety and evacuation plans.

Mr Ellis said: "They should have reduced flights to deal with the capacity. The inconvenience that passengers are suffering is unjust. 

"I would say that passenger safety is being endangered. The security is nowhere near what it should be at a major airport."People are sat around in management crisis meetings. No one seems to be taking ownership or responsibility for this.

"They need to reduce flights until they get on top of it all."

Mr Ellis's claims were put to Manchester Airport on Friday 1 April.

The airport has admitted that passeneger experinces have fallen below their standards, blaming the issue on staffing shortages.

A spokesperson said: "“Due to the security checks and training associated with these roles, it takes time to for people to be able to start work in our operation.

"That is why we are exploring a number of short-term measures to deliver the best possible service we can, such as the use of agency staff and different ways in which existing colleagues can support our operation."The airport tweeted on Monday, 4 April: "As we continue to recover from the pandemic and passenger numbers grow, security queues may be longer than usual at times. 

"If you're due to travel in the next few weeks, please arrive at the earliest time your airline allows. We apologise to our customers for the disruption."