UK Airport Staff Shortages: The Drawbacks

The Departures terminal at Manchester Airport
Photo Credit: Manchester Airport.

LONDON – You may have seen recently over many news outlets that multiple major airports within the United Kingdom are experiencing a tough spell of staff shortages due to various reasons.


One of the main airports within the UK that are currently experiencing heavy staff shortages is Manchester Airport.

GlobalData, a leading data analysis and consulting company based out of London, United Kingdom released some data on the recent trends of positions being available at Manchester Airport.

One of the main aspects of this data shows that in December 2021 the airport had 65 open positions and within the space of two months till February 2022, this number of open positions had increased by 50 vacancies to a total of 110.

During February, the airport then showed that 24 of those positions had been fulfilled and we now see in March a total of 86 positions still available.

Not only is GlobalData’s information showing a very harrowing position for Manchester Airport, but we are also seeing many reports of extremely long security queues as well as arriving passengers having to wait over an hour for their luggage to come off the plane, only to which after frustratingly waiting for over an hour, they leave still without their luggage and will return at a later date to collect them from the airports lost and found location.

GlobalData’s Comments

GlobalData’s Travel and Tourism Analyst, Ralph Hollister expressed concerns about the staff shortages:

“Staff shortages could remain a problem for several months as airports scramble to match employment levels with demand. When travel came to a standstill during the pandemic, many airport employees left their positions to work in other industries.”

“Stories of unruly passengers, often long commute times, and job uncertainty, as seen with COVID-19, could be off-putting for many currently seeking work.”

As Hollister mentions, the still very unknown grounds that surround the pandemic are concerning for many people, as to which this is making the airport’s jobs much more difficult in trying to permanently fill open positions.

This is having a detrimental knock-on effect on the UK’s aviation sector, especially as we are now starting to see travel demand ramp up very quickly.

Many people have gone for the past few years without a vacation and now with many countries relaxing a lot of the restrictions that were put in place to control the spread of COVID-19 infections, the amount of people going on vacation is taking a huge dive forward.

Hollister continues, “A lack of employees in key roles, such as those involving security, are key contributors to the long queues causing flights to be missed and passenger experiences to turn sour.”

“It’s now up to airport companies to improve their recruitment strategies and make working in an airport an attractive proposition.”

“However, lengthy vetting procedures and training processes involved for these positions mean the issue with long queues will not vanish overnight.”


In one sense, the increase in passenger numbers will come as a blessing to many airlines enabling them to return to profit and to allow for them to grow and renew their operations, as well as helping to speed up many of their ambitious plans.

However, contrary to this, the passenger experience for many will be a nightmare until the staff shortages have been resolved and people are better off arriving at airports much early than anticipated to ensure that they can clear check-in and security in time to ensure they don’t miss their flights.

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