John McLellan: Edinburgh Airport a victim of its own success

Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, stands alongside the airport's new signage and logo.
Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, stands alongside the airport's new signage and logo.
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Many of us have done it – a bad travel experience followed by instant social media revenge. I once tweeted from a lengthening early morning security queue at a solitary scanner at Edinburgh Airport and a few minutes later extra staff arrived to open more stations. Thanks to my prompt? That’s my story anyway.

Edinburgh Airport staff will be used to dealing with social media criticism, but when it gets into a good old-fashioned hard copy newspaper, as did the experience of angry passenger Sebastian Allaby in The Scotsman, it’s a different story.

So chief executive Gordon Dewar responded, writing passionately: “Please tell us about your bad experiences. Hold us to task when we’ve fallen short. We’ll listen, and we’ll do our best to make it right.”

Glasgow businessman Mark Merley did exactly that after alleging he had been victimised by security staff who subjected him to an overly personal body-search, and that was followed by Evening News reader Eric Scott who missed a flight because of security problems.

READ MORE: Glasgow man ‘humiliated’ during body search at Edinburgh Airport

The staff also deal with people like those arrested after an Edinburgh-Crete flight for alleged persistent drunken abuse. Who wants a pint of cooking lager and a wee voddy from Weatherspoons at 5.30am? Apparently quite a few.

Dewar points out the airport needs an army of staff and some will be better than others. My experience a fortnight ago was positive if a bit slow, but the impression is still of a facility struggling to keep pace with its own success.

It’s not fare

Unlike Uber and mini-cab fly-by-nights, black taxi owners are not just buying a car but a business and the city council’s plan to force all vehicles over ten years old off the road feels like unnecessary bullying of small traders to make a political point.

To get the best return, the cabs need to be kept on the road as long as possible and while they meet emission standards there is no reason to introduce an arbitrary time-bar. They are already under huge pressure from the new app operators but the trade’s pleas will no doubt be met with the usual smug indifference.