'Shameful' scenes as union blames 'greed' for airports chaos

GMB Scotland said the Government and industry were responsible for flight cancellations and large queues at Scottish airports.

Union blames Government and industry ‘greed’ as airport travel chaos continues at Edinburgh and Glasgow @JohnnyVSL via Supplied

Holidaymakers are “dealing with the consequences” of failure to invest in the travel industry as delays and cancellations continue at airports around Scotland.

GMB Scotland organiser Robert Deavy said political leaders “abandoned” workers in the aviation industry after thousands of staff were let go during the Covid pandemic.

It comes after hundreds of flights were cancelled this week and larger than normal queues have been seen at Scottish airports.

One passenger called the scenes at Edinburgh Airport “shameful” after revealing that he and his family had to queue for around an hour on the tarmac when they arrived on Sunday.

Passengers at Edinburgh Airport have faced lengthy queues.

The traveller told STV News: “Yesterday we had to queue on arrival at Edinburgh Airport, massive queues people were waiting on the tarmac.

“That’s disgraceful and sad.

“We had to queue for approximately an hour and, yes, it was border control. Shameful for people who are visiting Scotland for the first time and were given that kind of treatment.”

GMB Scotland said political leaders “ignored” proposals for the future of the travel industry following the damaged caused by the pandemic.

Mr Deavy added: “The chickens have come to roost for government failure and industry greed. 

“At the start of the pandemic, we told ministers at Westminster and Holyrood that a plan for the future of the sector and the workforce was needed because aviation would bounce back.

“Instead, political leaders ignored our proposals while the industry pocketed billions in furlough before culling thousands of jobs.

“They abandoned these workers and their livelihoods, and now the public are dealing with the consequences.”

A representative of Edinburgh airport said that the industry is experiencing “challenges” and has urged passengers to not arrive “too early”.

A spokesperson said: “Queues are expected in busy environments like airports and more likely in busy periods like summer.

“This morning queues were outside for a short time and staff worked incredibly hard to get passengers through security as quickly as possible – we thank passengers for their patience and for working with us.

“Passengers should ensure they are prepared for their trip by having the correct documentation and being ready for security, and they can also help by showing up for their check-in desk opening rather than arriving too early as this causes congestion.

“The whole UK industry is experiencing challenges and is doing what it can to respond.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow Airport said: “While our average queue times are longer than they were pre-pandemic, they are managed well by our teams and passengers are moving at a steady pace ahead of their flights.

“Many of our passengers haven’t flown for a long time and we are asking them to arrive at the airport at the correct time. We have seen some people turn up nearly two hours before the recommended airline check-in time.

“Travel restrictions are still in place at some destinations, so travellers should ensure they have their correct documentation ready at check-in such as vaccination certificates.

“Being prepared for security inspection ensures the process goes as smoothly as possible, so passengers should visit the airport’s dedicated security section for advice on requirements such as the 100ml liquid rule and how to present hand luggage correctly.

“Our people are working incredibly hard, and we would like to take this opportunity thank our passengers for their patience and continued understanding.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are aware of the acute pressures facing the travel industry as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, especially the significant impact on staff and jobs.

“Throughout the pandemic the Scottish Government acted to help as many businesses in Scotland as possible and has continued to engage with the industry in an effort to mitigate economic harm.”

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