UK Cuts Security Check Time for New Airport Staff to Tackle Travel Disruption

By Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
July 3, 2022 Updated: July 3, 2022

The UK government claims to have significantly cut the time it takes for new airport staff to pass security checks in an effort to tackle staff shortages that have caused severe travel disruptions.

The travel chaos has lasted for months in the UK as the aviation industry suffers from severe staff shortages. Airlines and airports made thousands of employees redundant during the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, but are now struggling to recruit new workers and have their security checks processed.

Shortages of staff to handle baggage and carry out security checks such as X-rays are fuelling long queues and delays at UK airports.

British Airways
British Airways aircraft are parked at the South Terminal at Gatwick Airport, in Crawley, United Kingdom, on Aug. 25, 2021. (Peter Nicholls/Reuters)

The government has ordered the vetting centre to prioritise checks for airports so new recruits can help plug the gaps quicker.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said on July 2 that counter-terrorist checks for aviation workers are now being processed on average in under 10 days, which is half of the time it took in March.

Accreditation checks are also being sped up to be completed within five days on average, according to the department.

Summer Concerns

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who is trying to alleviate flight disruption this summer to avert the mayhem seen over the Easter and Jubilee holidays, welcomed the latest statistics.

“People have made huge sacrifices during the pandemic and deserve their flights to run on time, without complications, and without being cancelled last minute,” he said. “While this is a challenging time for the sector, it is not acceptable for the current disruption to continue as we head into the summer peak.”

Epoch Times Photo
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps delivers a speech to set out the government’s vision to create a reformed and modernised railway, at Siemens Traincare Facility Mobility Division Rail Systems in north London on June 16, 2022. (A/PA Media)

Shapps said the public “deserves to know now whether or not their flight will run over the summer,” adding that the industry should either commit to deliver the flights they have scheduled, or cancel them well in advance so people can make other arrangements.

The transport secretary has previously blamed the chaos over the Platinum Jubilee weekend on travel firms, accusing them of having “seriously oversold flights and holidays relative to their capacity to deliver” despite government warnings.

But industry leaders claim that businesses have suffered from uncertainties over the government’s COVID-19 travel restrictions, which were completely lifted only on March 18.

PA Media contributed to this report.