Manchester Airport chaos could continue until summer, says councillor

Manchester Airport chaos could continue until summer, says councillor
‘It’s the Wild West,’ says one customer as fights break out in hours-long queues

The travel chaos seen at Manchester Airport in recent days could continue until summer, one Manchester City Council member has said.

Customers at the airport have reported hours-long queues, packed and unmanaged security lines and missed flights at the airport over the past week.

Meeting with airport bosses yesterday, Councillor Pat Karney said the airport’s reputation had taken a “nosedive”, calling the disruption a “failure of management”.

After the meeting with MAG (Manchester Airport Group) chiefs, Mr Karney told the BBC that its executives “plan to make changes” but that they need to “level with the public and tell them the problems”.

Speaking to the meeting of management and shareholders, he said bosses had “totally underestimated the recovery time of the airport”.

“Two million people went through the airport in February [and] in the previous year, it was 70,000, so you had to plan ahead,” he added.

“They should have seen all this. They should have known the recovery was going to be very quick.”

On Friday, one passenger captured a video of overstuffed security queues, with luggage trays piles high as angry customers jostled to get through the scanners.

Another customer tweeting as @WeLoveBury reported a four-hour wait in the fast track security queue, saying: “Have to say, totally amazing how bad and mismanaged the security check is.

“Person collapsed, fights breaking out, queue jumping. It’s the Wild West. At gate last call waiting for 400 people still.”

Jane Gilham warned, “People will get hurt if you do not improve things.”

Today the queues continued, with one flyer estimating “well over 1,000 people in the security queue at T2” and the airport issuing an apology and a queues warning via Twitter.

The tweet pointed to growing passenger numbers and recovery from the pandemic travel slump as reasons for the chaos.

“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,” reads a statement posted today.

The airport is advising passengers to ready their hand luggage for security, separating liquids and removing electrical items but also “limiting hand luggage” as much as possible.

Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said he would not choose to travel from Manchester this summer.

“Manchester had the worst queues of any UK airport in 2019 so management shouldn’t be allowed to use the pandemic as an excuse for these disgraceful scenes,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Given there’s no compensation for missing your flight due to long queues, I would not fly from Manchester this Easter/Summer.”

The Independent has contacted Manchester Airports Group for comment.