Police and fire staff could be drafted in to sort airport chaos

Staff from the police force and the fire and rescue service could be drafted in to help tackle the chaos at one of the UK's biggest airports where people are jumping barriers and missing flights en masse.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said today (Monday, April 4), that the situation is "concerning" at his city's airport, as he plans to meet its management.

It comes after a weekend of long delays for passengers with reports of people jumping over barriers, jostling for space and abandoning their luggage, Manchester Evening News reported.

Covid checks, high passenger volumes and staff shortages due to illness have meant longer than usual check-in times at many airports around the UK.

The situation has been blamed on staff shortages, although one Manchester councillor has claimed the chaos is also down to a "failure of management".

Mr Burnham said he will be seeking reassurance about what is being done to bring the situation at the airport under control, but will also offer his support.

He said: "I have been in touch with colleagues at Greater Manchester Police at the weekend to see what we can do to support the airport.

"It's a difficult moment for airports around the world having laid low for the pandemic, they've had to scale up very quickly. We understand the challenges that we've got.

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"But at the same time, we don't want to see the scenes that we saw at the weekend and we obviously need to work with them to work through those issues and make sure we're managing those things and giving the right information to the public and being clear about the plan to get things to an acceptable level."

The mayor also urged people to be patient "and understand the situation that they're in," as airports around the world attempt to "gear up" after the pandemic ground the industry to a halt.

"We are seeking reassurance from the airport because we need to know there's a plan in place to prevent a repeat of some of the scenes we've seen. At the same time, there's something I can do to support them.

"Can we work with our fire service and police service to do a little more to help the airport manage some of the pressures that it has? All of that will be discussed tomorrow.

"It is a challenging situation, but we will support the airport through it."

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