Staff from Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) are being drafted in to help tackle issues with queues and delays
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham revealed the news today after a meeting with airport bosses on Tuesday.
The airport’s managing director, Karen Smart, stepped down from her role on Tuesday to be replaced by interim boss Ian Costigan.
But Mr Burnham warned problems will not clear up overnight - and that disruption could last up to two months.
What has Andy Burnham said?
Irate passengers have taken to social media sharing chaotic scenes of long queues and abandoned bags at the airport over the last three weeks. Some have called for Mr Burnham and council chiefs to step in. The airport is part-owned by Greater Manchester’s councils, but run independe
Mr Burnham said some of the issues the airport were beyond their control, but efforts should have been made earlier by bosses to hire extra staff to cope with an upsurge in travel since Covid restrictions were lifted.
He added communication with passengers needed to improve, particularly in queues at the airport, but that travellers could also help things along by following the latest advice from the airport including arriving three hours before flights and minimising hand baggage: see here for more.
He said: “Sadly, the disruption is not going to disappear overnight and this advice will have to be in place for the foreseeable future.
“While the airport expects that there will be some disruption for the next two months, I want people to be reassured that the airport, supported by colleagues in Greater Manchester, are putting in measures to ease it.
“First, to reduce pressure at security the airport management are increasing use of overtime and bringing in temporary staff.
“Second, additional staff are being engaged to help organise the large numbers of people passing through the airport and better information will be provided to passengers who are queuing, as well as steps to look after the welfare of those experiencing long queue times.
“Third, more real-time information on security queues will be published on the airport website and some airlines are starting to offer passengers the ability to check in their bags the night before if they are taking an early flight.”
What about staffing levels?
It is understood 220 staff have already been recruited as part of a hiring drive but many more are needed.
Mr Burnham said police had already increased their presence at the airport, and that he had “offered to the airport the services of some of our experienced TfGM staff to assist with queue management and communications to those waiting.”
He has also written to the Minister for Security and Borders to ask if security checks on new staff can be sped up.
Airport bosses previously warned it was taking a long time to get newly hired staff on the ground.