Belfast International Airport (BFS) is ramping up for a busy summer season as passenger numbers return to pre-pandemic levels. The airport had its busiest day in two years on April 11, with over 18,000 holidaymakers traveling through the airport for the Easter holidays.
Speaking to local media, airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie, said,
“We have an improving situation in terms of traffic returning and restrictions being lifted all over the place. It is good to see people back travelling more and we’re hoping that will continue. There’s a buzz about the place again too which makes a big difference.”
The airport is set to offer flights to over 50 destinations, including new routes with TUI to Kos, easyJet to Menorca, and Jet2 to Verona. Virgin Atlantic will also be resuming its transatlantic services to Orlando.
The airport will offer flights to over 50 destinations, including a brand-new easyJet route to Menorca. Photo: easyJet
To meet the demand for what is expected to be the busiest season in two years, BFS management has hosted a big recruitment drive to bring in employees across the airport, with an additional 200 expected by summer. Keddie stated,
“We are probably sitting at over 4,000 but those jobs are coming back pretty quickly and we expect those numbers to climb steadily. Every company we have on site is recruiting and will continue to do so also. We have held two job fairs already and more are planned in the coming weeks so we are starting to see new faces joining teams right across the airport every week and in all departments.”
Airport staffing issues
During the hectic Easter period, BFS was not exempt from the same issues plaguing other airports across the United Kingdom. The airport was hit by the wave of easyJet cancellations and long queues due to a lack of staff across various parts of the terminal.
Keddie has confirmed that he has specifically started to backfill security personnel positions to reduce security waiting times for future passengers, adding,
“This does take time as there are mandatory training and background security checks that must be completed for all staff working at an airport. We plan to keep recruiting as passenger numbers continue to increase.”
Long delays at airports across the UK led to many holidaymakers missing their flights. Photo: Getty Images
Holidaymakers across the United Kingdom faced heavy delays through the Easter period as understaffed airports struggled to meet the heaving demand. Infamous scenes seen at Manchester Airport earlier this month led to regional Mayor Andy Burnham calling on the Minister of Security to expedite staff vetting to handle the delays.
According to The National, major airports across the UK are set to relax counter-terrorism checks to speed up the hiring process, allowing staff members to train on airport premises without full vetting.
However, BFS has stressed the importance of passengers working alongside the airport to reduce waiting times, including checking travel requirements, arriving two hours before departure, keeping travel documents on hand, and ensuring bags are prepared for security checks.
“We would like to remind passengers of the importance of arriving well in advance, at least two hours before their flight departs, and coming to the airport fully prepared with all relevant documentation.”
Will you be traveling out of Belfast International Airport this summer? Let us know in the comments.
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