Manchester Airport borrows council workers to help bring passenger chaos to an end

Manchester Airport has been plagued by weeks of chaos that has seen massive queues, passengers waiting hours and missed flights at the hub

Some of the huge queues which plagued the airport in recent days

Manchester Airport has been slow council workers to help the company bring the chaos that has plagued it for weeks to an end.

Council leaders freed up staff to help the airport with its urgent recruitment drive as the airport was hit by the perfect storm of a staffing crisis and arises in passengers in recent weeks.

The drafted workers will help with tasks such as working through job applications and “supporting” the interview process, Manchester Evening News reported.

The move comes after a turbulent month where staff shortages at the airport led to huge queues, massive delays and passengers missing their flights.

So far, it is reported by the MEN that only two staff members from the council’s Human Resources department have been diverted to help the airport, but more could be drafted in if needed.

One holidaymaker was left waiting over two hours to collect her bag


Alison Unwin/MEN Media)

Others weren’t as lucky and went home without their luggage


Alison Unwin/MEN Media)

The council is also said to have lobbied the Home Office for more assistance.

However, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham warned yesterday that the chas could last for up to two months.

He even went as far as asking passengers to arrive three hours before their flights.

The mayor also outlined other measures including extra police presence, transport staff, online queuing information, baggage check-in the night before travel and more ‘welfare’ support for passengers enduring long waits.

The council are the majority shareholder in Manchester Airport Group (MAG) which owns the airport and has previously benefited from dividends from the airports.

Manchester Airport baggage handlers have said they are ‘under more stress than ever’ – and warned things are only going to get worse


MEN Mean)

This amounted to a £600million windfall for the 10 councils in the five years prior to the pandemic.

However, when Covid contribution struck, crippling the airport, the council made a considerable to a £260m loan to help keep the hub afloat.

Despite this, it is an unusual step for the council to get involved in the practical day-to-day running of the airport.

But faced with the nearly unprecedented crisis, and growing questions as to why the council had not done more council leader Bev Craig issued a statement.

Coun Craig said: “Like everyone, we have been concerned by some of the scenes reported in the press. Manchester Airport is the gateway to our city and is key to our recovery from the pandemic.

Queues at the airport’s terminal 1


Manchester Evening News)

“Because of this, we want Manchester people to have positive experiences at the airport. Across the UK, airports and the aviation industry have seen significant challenges and we want to ensure that Manchester’s recovery is secured. We are in close touch with the airport management and as a council have been giving support where they have requested it, particularly in helping speed up recruitment to some key roles.

“As a shareholder we are not involved in managing operational issues, but have been meeting with management and are assured that operational disruption is being managed properly and that there is both a short-term and longer-term plan to recruit the staff that are needed to support recovery over the coming months.

“We have offered support where we can throughout, as the airport is such a key part of Manchester’s economy and reputation. We will continue to work closely with the management team until the current issues are resolved.”

Council Leader Bev Craig


Manchester Evening News)

The chaos that has plagued the airport led to scenes such as hundreds of abandoned luggage and bags in the airport due to staff shortages.

Over the pandemic, the airport made a number of redundancies and said it was struggling with the same issues a number of airports were coming out of the worst of the pandemic.

After months of no travel and zero passengers, demand swelled over the previous month, leaving the airport unable to cope.

The airport chief even stepped down amid the ongoing chaos.

Karen Smith had been with the business for the past eight years and took over the managing director role at the start of the pandemic to help Manchester Airports Group through the impact of Covid.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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