Manchester Airports Group has interviewed 4,000 people in just two months in a bid to desperately hire more staff following weeks of chaos. Due to staffing shortages at the international hub, which have been widely documented over the past month, passengers have faced exceptionally long queues at check-in desks, security, and waited numerous hours for their bags, with some even abandoning their suitcases.
In a lengthy statement from Charlie Cornish, the CEO of the Manchester Airport Group (MAG) issued today (April 8), he confirmed that as many as 4,000 people have been interviewed in just two weeks. It comes just days after the MEN reported the various different vacant roles currently open for applications at the airport.
It is part of a mission to get the airport back to normal in time for the peak of summer season. It was that announced the increased numbers of hirees, of which there will be 250 joining in security by early May, will ‘ease operational pressure’ and reduce queue times.
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It was also confirmed that 200 people are currently going through security checks that are needed before they start training at the airport. As well as this, Mr Cornish announced that many of the existing security staff are ‘willing to work more hours’ and even ‘postpone holidays’ to help out.
It comes as the CEO of the group, which operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports, said he ‘could not apologize enough’ for the scenes of chaos in recent weeks and warned of issues continuing for the next ‘month or two’. He said: “We are focused on getting back to normal in time for the peak summer season. As new staff join us, the operational pressure we are facing will ease and queue times will begin to come down.
“To achieve this, we are busy recruiting new officers and taking them through the rigorous training and testing needed to work in aviation security. We are doing this in one of the most challenging employment markets we have seen, with competition from many other businesses that find themselves in the same position.
“These vetting processes are rightly demanding, but they have made it more difficult for us to recruit the people we need, with more than half of those we offer jobs to finding another vacancy before the process is complete. But the response has been positive and we have interviewed more than 4,000 people over the last two months.
“Many have already started in the operation and more than 200 people are currently going through the security checks that are needed before they can start training. We expect around 250 new security staff to start in the operation by early May.
“While we are advising passengers to expect longer queues than usual as we continue our recruitment drive, I also want to be clear that a huge amount of work is going into improving the situation in the short-term. Our focus for the next four weeks is on delivering a more predictable and reliable level of service for passengers.
“A key strand of that is working with Trade Unions and our existing, hugely dedicated workforce to maximize flexibility in the operation. For example, we know many colleagues already working in security are willing to do more hours, or even to postpone holidays to help out.
“These are entirely voluntary options, and colleagues have been asking us what else they can do to support. Colleagues with the right level of security clearance, but who don’t currently work in the operation, are also being deployed to support wherever possible. “