Manchester Airport staff crisis means employers will say 'you should be at work' despite Covid fears – Liam Halligan says

Passengers have faced long delays caused by a shortage of staff in recent weeks

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GB News' Economics and Business Editor Liam Halligan has hit out at Manchester Airport workers as staff shortages continue to cause travel chaos.

Travellers have been hit with long delays in recent weeks, with queues trailing outside terminals to reach check-in and hordes of people waiting to get through security and to pick up luggage.

The managing director at Manchester Airport, Karen Smart resigned on Wednesday as a result of the ongoing travel issues.

Speaking on the issue, Liam told GB News’ Breakfast with Isabel and Eamonn that he doesn’t buy the excuses given by staff.

He said: “It’s not only they can’t recruit, it’s because a lot of people are off with long-Covid in quotation marks and I don’t say that lightly.

“Charlie Cornish runs the Manchester Airport Group, it also runs the same organisation, Stansted Airport and East Midlands Airport and he’s called this the most challenging period in our 84-year history.

“Karen Smart has got a good reputation, she’s been with the Manchester Airport Group for eight years, she’s pretty much run Manchester Airport for the last two years."

The host of GB News' On The Money added: “But there have been weeks and weeks of delays, not just delays but people missing their flights because they’re not being processed because there isn’t the staff to process them.

Passengers queue for security screening at Manchester Airport
Passengers queue for security screening at Manchester Airport
Karen Smart has resigned as managing director of Manchester Airport
Karen Smart has resigned as managing director of Manchester Airport

“So, yes there is a recruitment problem, but there is an even bigger problem of not being able to get existing staff to come to work because of ongoing pandemic issues.

“Some people will say with all respect, that they are being overstated, if you look at the number of cases of Covid-19 in the UK it’s falling, if you look at the number of people in intensive care because of Covid, it’s very low.

“Of course, it’s still a nasty virus, people are dying, have died and will die from it.

“But very few people from working age, I’m not saying nobody should isolate if they have Covid and feel bad, but there is no longer a legal requirement to do so, so increasingly employers are going to think you should be at work.”

In a statement following Ms Smart's resignation on Tuesday, MAG chief executive Charlie Cornish said: “Over the last two years, Karen has guided Manchester Airport through the most challenging period of its 84-year history, having made a major contribution to MAG throughout her time with the business.

“I am sorry to lose Karen after her years of valuable service, but also understand her desire to return to the South for family reasons and indeed to explore new career opportunities.

“While there are sure to be further challenges ahead, I am confident we will soon start to see the benefits of the recovery plans Karen has helped put in place.”

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