David Wilson: Apologies for long airport queues

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Unfortunately, Fiona Duff’s experience of Edinburgh Airport’s security process this week is one that a number of passengers have experienced over the past few months.

I can only apologise to her and them – our passengers deserve better. So on behalf of all at the airport, we’re sorry.

It’s fair to say that the move to our new hall, with its new security process, has proven challenging. Why did we change? It’s because we’re growing. We need more capacity in security to deal with growth this year and into the future.

The old hall, with its old technology, would simply not have coped with the demand our growth gives us. So we invested in our new hall and in new technology to prepare for growth. It ups our capacity by being far more efficient at processing large numbers of passengers.

The introduction of the new technology has been challenging and we’ve had to do this in the full glare of our passengers and airlines. We’ve had a number of issues in optimising processes, managing queuing areas, and using new technology that we’ve worked through. To compound matters, our 2015 forecast has been surpassed. We’re seeing passenger numbers ten per cent up on last year – five per cent up on our plan. This is down in the main to increased load factors which can be hard to predict. It also hits us at the peak which causes queues like Fiona experienced this week.

We’re recruiting to deal with the extra passengers and have 60 new officers so far. We have another 20 about to go into training.

We’re feeling the pain acutely and it’s clear that this is the biggest issue we face at the moment. All hands – from security officers to senior management – are on the pump. We feel it because our security for years was the envy of other UK airports.

The whole airport, including our airline partners, are focused on fixing this issue and their support has been phenomenal.

I’m glad that Fiona recognised that our staff are not at fault here. Their job is a difficult one.

Over the past few weeks, many passengers have asked me how they can assist the staff.

It’s simple – if you’re stuck in a queue, be polite and don’t take your frustration out on them. And please make sure you comply with the liquid rules. We’re seeing large numbers of passengers not complying with these regulations. The better prepared the passenger is, the quicker we can process them. We’re sorry that at some periods we’re letting our passengers down. I hope that they, and Fiona, recognise that we’re working very hard to get back to the service they expect and deserve.

David Wilson is chief operations officer for Edinburgh Airport