Birmingham Airport chaos: Passengers told to turn up three hours before flights

Staff
By Staff

Holidaymakers were left waiting in the rain for hours following new rules introduced by the Gorvernment – as airlines warned passengers to arrive three hours early

Airlines have warned holidaymakers to arrive three hours early for flights taking off at Birmingham Airport, as huge queues continue to cause travel chaos.

Furious travellers were seen trapped in queues for hours as new rules for carrying liquids has sparked confusion amongst passengers. EasyJet passengers were told they would need to arrive an extra hour early if travelling from another British airport following the disruption.

Images taken at the Brimingham Airport this morning show huge queues to reach security from outside the terminal, as holiday makers battled with building work and a change to hand luggage liquids rules. Birmingham Airport spent £60m to upgrade its security desks and introduce hi-tech scanners known as Next Generation Security Checkpoints (NGSC).

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It comes after the Tories temporarily re-introduced rules which stops passengers from travelling with liquids over 100ml in their hand luggage. Birmingham Airport’s boss Nick Barton, who earns £700,000-a-year, faced backlash this week after he implied it was passengers’ fault for not following baggage rules.

Responding to a passenger who asked why check-in had been disrupted on Sunday, EasyJet said on X: “We recommend arriving at the airport 3 hours or at least 2 hours before your flight to account for potential delays and facilitate check-in.”

Brand new technolody was installed in some airports, including Birmingham, to accommodate the new liquid rule, but the Department for Transport (DfT) announced on Friday that all airports would have to comply with it once again.

Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators’ Association, said DfT’s “surprise” announcement “was sprung on us with very little time to react”, adding it “created uncertainty for passengers just as airports enter their busiest period”. She said: “It has also put airport operators in a challenging position, with very limited time to prepare for the additional staffing and wider resources that this will require, and no clear idea of when this issue will be resolved.”

Birmingham Airport CEO Mr Barton implied passengers were to blame for failing to comply with baggage rules. He said: “A non-compliant bag with liquids over 100ml can add up to 20 minutes to each passenger’s journey through security.”

Mr Barton told the BBC: “Since opening our new security area, and despite being one of the first UK airports to comply, we have been limited on the use of our multi-million-pound equipment due to an outstanding regulatory restriction meaning we had to limit liquids to 100ml.

“Despite the 100ml rule still being in place, we continually have non-compliant bags with liquids over the allowance which have led to inefficiencies of our equipment and resulted in extended queuing time for customers. It is now imperative that all customers comply with the nationwide rule to ensure a smoother and simpler transition through the airport.’

Insiders claimed on Sunday that the huge queues may last for months and the airport is “understaffed”, leaving employees “overworked” and “struggling.”

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