Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

New Belfast International Airport boss landed with queue chaos grief

The new managing director of Belfast International Airport has been invited to work alongside employees after a security queue shambles meant seven passengers missed their flights on Thursday night
The new managing director of Belfast International Airport has been invited to work alongside employees after a security queue shambles meant seven passengers missed their flights on Thursday night

The new managing director of Belfast International Airport has been invited to work alongside employees after a security queue shambles meant seven passengers missed their flights on Thursday night.

A worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said that 14 security staff were instructed to open just one scanner for hundreds of passengers catching eight flights out of Aldergrove, leading to huge tailbacks.

The news will be a big headache for new boss Graham Keddie, who has previously worked at airports in Manchester, Cyprus and the Middle East.

Mr Keddie will be taking over as managing director on Monday.

The source said: "Security staff were told to only have one scanner open from 6pm.

"Following that decision, there were eight flights in two hours.

"Airport staff know what the busy times are, yet were only allowed to open one lane.

"If they were to use common sense and open other lanes without permission, they would have got into trouble.

"By the time enough complaints were made on Thursday night and more lanes were opened, the damage was done and people had missed flights."

The airport worker said that the chaos of just one evening would lead to long-term damage to the airport.

"People said they would never fly from Belfast International Airport again.

"If I was a passenger who had spent my savings on a missed flight, even though I arrived in good time, I would want to be reimbursed."

And the caller said that the new man in charge had to make changes.

"The people making these decisions are not on the ground watching what is going on.

"He needs to come and see what is happening.

"The staff at the end of the line are the ones who got the blame, not the people who made the decision in the first place."

Uel Hoey, business development manager at the airport, said that the incident was a "blip" relating to a rostering error.

He added that the situation had normalised by 8pm.

"Airport management have been liaising with The Consumer Council with regard to delays in the departing passenger process on the evening of Thursday, August 28," he said.

Mr Hoey added that any passengers who were affected should contact Belfast International Airport by email, setting out how they were affected at: feedback@bfs.aero, referencing 'Thursday 28 August'.

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