Gatwick hires 400 new security staff to ease travel chaos over peak summer rush

Thousands of flights have been cancelled in recent weeks as airports battle staff shortages

Gatwick Airport has hired hundreds of new security staff in an effort to ease passenger queues and delays.

Bosses said 400 new staff members have started and more are being recruited in a move aimed at reducing pressure on the airport as it goes into the busy school summer holiday period.

Gatwick is also trying to increase awareness about placing liquids in a clear bag, separate from hand luggage, to minimise delays at security.

Gatwick Airport has hired hundreds of new security staff to ease queues and delays (Photo: Getty Images)

Chief operating officer Adrian Witherow said: “We are doing everything possible to make the airport process as smooth as possible, including recruiting and training hundreds of new security staff, many of whom have already started or will be in coming weeks.

“It’s also important, however, that we do what we can to help passengers prepare for security before reaching the trays.

“We understand many already do this, but, by publishing the list of top items that are currently being forgotten, we hope to get even more people through airport security quickly, so they can go on and relax ahead of their flight, enjoy a drink or sit down for a meal.”

The announcement comes after easyJet confirmed this week that it has recruited 350 new customer service staff and is opening a new call centre in Milan to help ease delays.

The airline will also be stationing head office staff in UK airports to provide additional support to passengers, and will also allow customers travelling on early-morning flights to drop hold baggage off the evening before they travel.

More travel disruption expected

The recruitment boost comes amid an air travel crisis which has seen thousands of flights cancelled in recent weeks, with passengers faced with long security queues and baggage system breakdowns.

Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, recently introduced a cap of 100,000 daily departing passengers until 11 September and has pleaded with carriers to stop selling summer tickets.

This cap will now reportedly continue until after the October half-term, meaning passengers could face further disruption in the autumn as more flights will need to be cut from schedules.

The Daily Telegraph reported that it has seen a letter from Mark Powell, Heathrow’s director of operational planning, which said a cap of 1,200 aircraft arriving and departing per day could last until 29 October.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Heathrow had 1,350 flights per day.

Airlines have also reportedly been warned they will face “restricted usage or no further usage of the airport” if they fail to reduce the capacity of flights.