You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Airport staff security checks quickened to end ‘disaster movie’ scenes at airports

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 03/07/2022 Sam Blewett
UP NEXT
UP NEXT

Security tests for new workers have been quickened and are being processed at a record pace in order to end the “disaster movie” scenes witnessed at airports.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is trying to alleviate flight disruption this summer to avert the mayhem seen over the Easter and Jubilee holidays.

Shortages of baggage handlers and security staff are fuelling long queues and delays at UK airports.

The Government has ordered the vetting centre to prioritise checks for airports so new recruits can help plug the gaps quicker.

The Department of Transport (DfT) said counter-terrorist checks for aviation workers are now being processed on average in under 10 days – half March’s time.

 (PA Wire) © Provided by Evening Standard (PA Wire)

Accreditation checks are also being sped up to be completed within five days on average, according to the department but in the short term, the staffing shortages appear to be hitting Heathrow airport.

Passenger Adam Kent, 59, said baggage reclaim “looked like a scene from a disaster movie” after arriving at Terminal 3 from Orlando, Florida.

“(There was) lost luggage everywhere, stacked between baggage belts, everyone stepping over it and no-one doing anything about it,” Mr Kent, from Worcestershire, told the PA news agency.

“Being brutally honest, it looks like a serious health and safety issue.

“No-one visible on the ground to explain the carnage or sort out the mess, it seems like lots of luggage has not arrived with passengers and just been dumped.”

Mr Kent said there was “appalling customer service” at the airport, adding: “Staff (were) nowhere to be seen, everyone was pretty shocked.

“The left and abandoned luggage was left unsecured and could easily be stolen… No duty of care shown to passengers’ possessions.”

Mr Shapps, who has devised a 22-point plan to help limit the disruption, welcomed the latest statistics.

People have made huge sacrifices during the pandemic and deserve their flights to run on time, without complications and without being cancelled last minute,” he said.

“While this is a challenging time for the sector, it is not acceptable for the current disruption to continue as we head into the summer peak.

“The public deserves to know now whether or not their flight will run over the summer, and so I reiterate my call for the industry to commit to deliver the flights they have scheduled, or to cancel them well in advance so people can make other arrangements.

“Building on our 22-point plan to help the industry minimise disruption, we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure this summer is a great success for the British public.”

But Labour accused the Government of having been “missing in action”.

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: “The part-time Transport Secretary didn’t hold a single meeting to tackle the chaos between Easter and the Jubilee weekend and now he’s desperately trying to play catch-up.

“These re-announced half-measures will do little to clear the huge delays in security checks and tackle the chronic low pay holding the industry back.”

On Saturday, it was reported that airlines using Heathrow are reworking flight schedules following the announcement of an amnesty by the DfT.

The amnesty alllowed airlines the ability to hand back flights slots if they are not confident they can use them, despite having purchased the times already.

Register now for one of the Evening Standard’s newsletters. From a daily news briefing to Homes & Property insights, plus lifestyle, going out, offers and more. For the best stories in your inbox, click here.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Evening Standard

Evening Standard
Evening Standard
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon