The boss of Manchester Airports Group (MAG) Charlie Cornish has apologised to passengers for the queues and congestion and Manchester Airport in the last few weeks.
The airport has suffered from staff shortages largely due to staff sickness and staff shortages. This has led to long queues for check-in, security and delays in baggage handling.
Mr Cornish said that the airport faced challenges in getting its operations back to where there were before Covid travel restrictions came into force and that the “simple fact” is that they don’t have enough staff to provide the level of service that passengers expect.
In a statement, he said, “I apologise to anyone who has been affected by the disruption.”
Passengers have taken to social media complaining of being in queues for hours and then waiting hours for baggage to be unloaded.
The disruption has already led to the resignation of Manchester Airport Managing Director Karen Smart.
Mr Cornish said that he still expects people to be able to get through security in around 30-40 minutes but at times, this may increase to 60-90 minutes.
The airport is focused on getting back to normal staffing levels by the summer having interviewed over 4,000 potential staff members in the last two months. 250 new security staff are expected to be on duty in early May once training is completed.
One alternative the airport has considered is capping capacity at the airport which would result in disruption to airline schedules but ease the strain on the airport itself.
Manchester Airport though says that would be an option of last resort and it is committed to helping airlines get back to their full flying schedule from the northern gateway.
Ending the statement, Mr Cornish added: “Together, we are committed to getting people away on their holidays and trips abroad with the best possible airport experience. In the short term, we know this could fall short of what customers expect, but I can assure people that we will be working hard to get passengers through the airport as quickly as we can over the coming weeks.
“I cannot apologise enough for the disruption people have faced. We are proud of our role as the UK’s gateway in the North, and as a major source of employment and economic value for the region. We will be back to where we need to be soon, and are working as hard as we can to get there as quickly as possible.”