Manchester Airport receives over 8,000 applications and hires more than a thousand recruits as it races to bolster workforce before summer


Manchester Airport has received more than 8,000 job applications and hired more than a thousand new recruits to bolster its workforce in a bid to cut queues as passenger numbers arise. The urgent recruitment drive has taken place amid a chaotic period for the hub, with passengers left feeling the pain of its staff shortages in check-in, security and passport control.

But hub bosses say they are now on the road to recovery ahead of the summer months, with more than 1,600 applicants having applied for jobs at the airport in April alone, 550 recruits on the floor since January, and 500 new starters currently going through vetting and security training. A further 200 workers are expected to join the operation in May, enabling management to open more security lanes in peak periods, and ‘improve customer service’.

Overall, there have been 8,000 applicants for jobs, including security officers, car park marshals and hospitality staff. Meanwhile, despite ongoing complaints from passengers, bosses insist security waiting times are improving, with ’90 per cent’ of passengers getting through in less than 30 minutes over the last fortnight, up from 78pc in the first two weeks of April.

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Despite these signs of light, passengers are still being asked to arrive three hours before their flight and are reminded to get to grips with security rules around hand luggage to speed up the process. But it’s a fine balance; the airport is also warning customers not to arrive too early because this can lead to extra queues – and their check-in and security desks may not yet be open.

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Hard on the heels of the pandemic, the last few months have been turbulent for Manchester Airport as they have struggled to cope with passenger numbers following the lifting of restrictions. Last month, it led to an open letter of apology from boss Charlie Cornish. Passenger numbers are now 79pc of pre-pandemic levels, treble that of January, when travelers were at 40pc of the level they were in the same month of 2019.

The Manchester Evening News is still receiving daily complaints from passengers but, while the airport concedes queues times are still longer at times, they insist they are happening less frequently and are being cleared ‘relatively quickly’. They say the whole aviation sector is facing similar staff pressures and that they are working with the UK Border Force, airlines and ground handlers to support operations at immigration, check-in and baggage reclaim.

To help cope with demand the airport has fully re-opened Terminal 3, offered extra overtime payments to the existing workforce, bolstered its recruitment drive and launched a campaign dubbed ‘Take Time, Take Care, Take Flight’ to help passengers flow through the terminals . The management team say they have also improved ‘efficiency of how it deploys people’ and brought in new measures to ‘improve the airport experience for customers and staff’.

Ian Costigan, Interim Managing Director of Manchester Airport, said: “We want to make sure that customers get away on their travels, so everyone at Manchester Airport is focused on bringing in the extra resources we need to continue operating our full flight schedule.

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“It is encouraging to see new staff joining us as a result of our ongoing recruitment drive, and we have seen security waiting times reduce in recent weeks. The last few weeks have been challenging but the team on the ground has done a great job in getting passengers through security more quickly, and I would like to thank all colleagues for their hard work and dedication.

“As we continue to recover, we are reminding customers to arrive at the airport three hours before their flight and to ensure they are familiar with all security rules. While the majority of people will get through security in less than 30 minutes, customers need to allow time for check-in and the possibility that security queues may be longer at peak times.

“All of these things will help passengers move through the airport quickly and easily, which is our ultimate goal.”

The airport has also repeated its advice to those set to travel through the airport. As part of a new customer communications campaign, the airport is urging customers to arrive three hours before their flights.

Passengers who have not flown for a long time are also being urged to refamiliarise themselves with the security rules. This includes ensuring all liquids, gels and pastes in their hand luggage are under 100ml and out in a clear re-sealable bag. Passengers should remove everything from their pockets, and large electricals should also be taken out of cabin baggage and put into a tray. Rejected bags and trays can add, on average, an additional 12 minutes to a person’s security process, which when multiplied by the thousands of passengers flying through soon adds up to lengthy delays that can easily be avoided.

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There are still roles to apply for at the airport and there are several recruitment events set to take place in May including open days at the onsite Airport Academy (10 th and 17 th May). Staff from the airport will also be attending jobs fairs held in Stoke on Trent (organised by Jack Brereton MP), Altrincham Job Center (6 th May), Rusholme Job Center (11 th May) and Bolton Council’s jobs fair on 26 th May.


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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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