Edinburgh Airport: Firefighters step in to lift luggage at Edinburgh Airport

Trained firefighters have gone from saving lives to lifting luggage in a bid to help Edinburgh Airport with its staffing problems.

The airport, struggling to replace workers paid off during the Covid-19 pandemic, has reportedly redeployed 140 workers to other roles, including shifts in the security and baggage halls, in a bid to keep queues moving and make sure travellers don’t miss flights.

According to the airport, fire crews are redeployed while on shift and others are paid extra to come in outside of their usual hours.

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It is believed while firefighters are on shift while working in the baggage area, not all of them are on watch – this means crews will be ready to respond to an emergency should one occur.

There are concerns over fire crews helping out in the baggage area of Edinburgh Airport

This doubling up of roles has caused concern among unions at the airport.

Unite stated it was fortunate aircraft fires were few and far between but it is not ideal to have firefighters working in the baggage area – taking them away from their regular duties, which also include health and safety training and providing first aid cover.

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Edinburgh Airport has been attempting to recruit more staff after it paid off nearly a third of its workforce.

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This staff shortage has led to long queues for security checks at Edinburgh Airport.

In a move to offset these problems, members of the airport’s management team are now taking part in a voluntary scheme called Here to Help, which seeks to backfill jobs lost during the pandemic.

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While they admit this is “less than ideal”, the management team stated it has used security staff in the past to help manage queues, help pick up trays or carry out a variety of other tasks which do not require specialist training.

They added the fire service helping moving luggage was just “extra pairs of hands to help the whole process work”.

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The airport said the safety of passengers had not been compromised, adding it will have a full staffing compliment by the end of July when new recruits are fully trained and have clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority and the government to start their new posts.