TUI says sorry for airport queue so large it snaked outside terminal

The queue snaking around Birmingham Airport on Saturday. (Reach)
The queue snaking around Birmingham Airport on Saturday. (Reach)

TUI has apologised to customers after they were left stuck in a huge queue that snaked outside Birmingham Airport this weekend.

The large line of holiday-makers trailed right outside departures at the airport on Saturday, leaving many fuming.

It was the latest long delay to hit the airport, after a staffing crisis caused problems getting through security.

One photo showed hundreds of passengers queuing up outside the airport at about 11.30am on Saturday.

TUI said the long queue was caused by a delayed flight to Cape Verde.

A spokesperson said: "We can confirm that, as a result of a delayed TUI flight to Cape Verde, some customers experienced longer queue times at Birmingham Airport this morning.

"We would like to apologise to those customers affected and thank them for their patience and understanding."

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Large numbers of passengers queuing inside Birmingham Airport on Saturday. (Reach)
Large numbers of passengers queuing inside Birmingham Airport on Saturday. (Reach)

Birmingham Airport has been beset with delays in recent weeks, caused by increased passenger numbers after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and staff shortages.

A spokesperson for the airport said: “As always, our message to departing customers is: Help us help you keep queues moving by removing any liquids, gels, pastes and electrical items from your bags before our security x-ray scanners."

Last week, the airport's chief executive Nick Barton warned that delays could continue for several weeks.

He told BBC Radio WM there was a 12-week lag between recruiting new employees and training them up.

"It's still the legacy of the industry being turned back on by the government's removal of the rules in mid-February." he said.

Birmingham Airport, United Kingdom - 1 April, 2022: TUI Boeing 787 (G-TUIC) parked up.
A file photo of a TUI plane at Birmingham Airport in April. (Getty)

"It didn't get very much traction because, until the industry started to show it had a future, a lot of people didn't want to come and start their careers with us.

"We got well underway with recruitment in February but, because we need to have them security-cleared, only then can we start training them. There's a lag of around 12 weeks.

"We are seeing a rapid recovery in aviation, which is a blessing, but it's catching up with the staff to make sure we can get back to our normal very good service levels.

"Well over 99 per cent of people caught their flights this weekend against that incredibly busy backdrop. We have now recruited all the people we need for the next three months.

"They're in training, that's the key thing. They are not available for use until we've gone through the full training process. By the end of May, we should be in a much better place in terms of that resource. The key thing is to turn up when their airline says to, not earlier."

Watch: Delays at UK airports as passengers increase amid staff shortages