Airport security feel strain of rise in passengers

The security gates at Edinburgh Airport. Picture: Jane Barlow

The security gates at Edinburgh Airport. Picture: Jane Barlow

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Edinburgh Airport announced its best passenger figures for May ever – as it was again blasted by passengers over long queues through its new security hall.

Passenger numbers shot up by almost ten per cent compared to the same month last year, with over 1000,000 people using the terminal.

However, airport facilities are showing the strain of the increase in numbers, with passengers getting in touch to complain about massive queues.

Complaints about delays at Edinburgh Airport’s new security hall have become common since the facility opened in 2014 as part of a £25m expansion plan, with airpost bosses blaming the delays on everything from getting to grips with new technology to staff absences.

Jim Brydon, strategy director at an Edinburgh-based financial services firm, said he found a 100m queue to get through security yesterday morning.

He said: “I experienced exactly the same at mid-afternoon a couple of weeks ago so it is not just an early morning problem. On both recent occasions the escalators were switched off to manage the 
volume of people waiting. When the holiday season fully kicks in it will be a nightmare. Extra staff are clearly not brought in and I have heard several make openly negative comments.

“The £25m investment has resulted in Edinburgh going from near the top of the league in terms of airport experience in the UK to the bottom of the relegation area.”

Chief executive Gordon Dewar suggested queues during peak times were becoming the norm, and warned passengers to be prepared when approaching security.

He said: “We know that over the last few months passengers have had to queue for longer than we’d like to get through security and in other parts of the terminal building. This isn’t what we want and we’re working hard to resolve this as quickly as possible.

“Our analysis has shown us that queues are building at peak times when a huge number of passengers are arriving at the airport in a very short space of time. These tend to be early mornings, and Friday and Sunday afternoons.

“It’s going to be a very busy summer for Edinburgh Airport and we want to make sure our passengers have a good experience. It’s incredibly important to be ready for security so we’re calling on everyone travelling to be prepared.”

The airport boss added: “To see over one million passengers travelling through our airport last month is phenomenal and is a sure sign of a busy summer season.”

Local MSP Colin Keir hailed the airport’s booming passenger figures, but also welcomed the admission that work was needed to improve the security experience.

He said: “I’m pleased the airport management have accepted there have been problems with the security hall and that they are working towards a solution.”

paris.gourtsoyannis@edinburghnews.com