Ministers battling to dampen the chaos at airports claim security tests for new workers are being completed in record times as passengers criticised “disaster movie” scenes.
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, is trying to alleviate flight disruption this summer to avert the mayhem seen over the Easter and jubilee holidays.
Shortages of staff to handle baggage and carry out security checks such as X-rays are fuelling long queues and delays at UK airports. 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 counter-terrorist checks for aviation workers are now being processed on average in under 10 days – half March’s time.
Accreditation checks are also being sped up to be completed within five days on average, according to the department. But in the short term, the staffing shortages appear to be hitting Heathrow airport.
Passenger Adam Kent, 59, said baggage reclaim “looked like a scene from a disaster movie” after arriving at Terminal 3 from Orlando, Florida.
“[There was] lost luggage everywhere, stacked between baggage belts, everyone stepping over it and no one doing anything about it,” Kent, from Worcestershire, told the PA news agency.
“Being brutally honest, it looks like a serious health and safety issue. No one visible on the ground to explain the carnage or sort out the mess, it seems like lots of luggage has not arrived with passengers and just been dumped.”
Kent said there was “appalling customer service” at the airport, adding: “Staff [were] nowhere to be seen, everyone was pretty shocked. The left and abandoned luggage was left unsecured and could easily be stolen … No duty of care shown toRead more on theguardian.com