Birmingham Airport suspends fast-track security bookings due to high demand

Low staff numbers and an increase in demand has resulted in significant issues at the airport in recent weeks

Birmingham Airport has stopped taking new bookings for fast-track security due to high demand - and said that it would not be possible to book the queue-jumping service for the “foresseable future”.

The airport’s website shows that it is currently not possible to pay extra for the time-saving Express Lane at security, as the fast-track bookings at the airport are now fully subscribed.

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Birmingham Airport has seen an increase in demand in recent weeks after the UK government’s major changes to Covid travel rules came into effect, with more travellers looking to head abroad via Birmingham with spring now upon us.

On Monday (May 9) passengers were forced to queue outside the terminal as more than half the 15,000 travellers booked in were due to fly out in the morning.

Passengers wait in long queues at Birmingham Airport on Friday (29 April) morning

A spokesman for Birmingham Airport, said: “We have stopped taking new bookings for our fast-track security queue lane as this service is fully subscribed for the foreseeable future.

“We continue to review bookings and as customer volumes stabilise, we will look to reopen the option to book this service.”

All Covid travel restrictions were scrapped in March, meaning travellers no longer have to fill out “complicated” passenger locator forms.

And many people booked to go away over the Easter and May bank holiday periods, with the demand set to stay high as we head into the summer months.

Many social media users have expressed their frustration over long queues at the airport during these periods, and some passengers at the airport reportedly missed their flights over the May bank holiday weekend.

A spokesman for the airport said they will look into the circumstances of anyone who missed their flight

Low staff levels at the airport due to the pandemic has also had a knock-on effect.

What has the airport said about its staffing levels?

Al Titterington, Terminal Operations Director for Birmingham Airport, said: “The recent lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions is leading to a dramatic upsurge in customers and, in some instances, long queues.

“The cause of the problem is this: having spent the past two years running at about 30% of pre-pandemic volumes, we reduced staff numbers accordingly. Now we have a sudden return of people wanting to fly but we don’t yet have the right numbers of security officers to check everyone through as quickly as we or they would like at peak times.

“We’re working to fix this. We’ve been running a big recruitment drive since January. We’re currently hiring and training more security officers every month until we’re up speed.

“There is no quick fix to this problem but we are tackling it. Week by week, our deployable security resources are increasing.

“Our new security officers, once trained and deployed, will help reduce customer wait times. In addition, we are bolstering our front-of-house team to ensure customers benefit from speedy information and improved service.”

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