Manchester Airport chief quits amid ‘nightmare’ passenger chaos

Karen Smart has worked with Manchester Airports for the past eight years but is now stepping down after ‘nightmare’ chaos plagued the airport in recent weeks.

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Manchester Airport: Passengers ‘wait hours’ for luggage due to delays

Manchester Airport chief Karen Smart has resigned amid continued passenger chaos.

The airport chief has been with the business for eight years and took over the role of chief executive at the start of the pandemic to help Manchester Airports Group through the impact of Covid.

The group, which owns Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports, confirmed this afternoon that it has decided to leave the business, Manchester Evening News reports.

But in a statement, Manchester Airport said she had decided to return to the south of England, where her family is based, to “pursue new career opportunities”.

MAG has also announced that Ian Costigan will take on the role of interim managing director and will be in charge of the recruitment campaign which would be central to the resolution of the issues underway before the summer.







Airport Manager Karen Smart
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Picture:

Nottingham Post)


MAG CEO Charlie Cornish said: “Over the past two years, Karen has guided Manchester Airport through the most challenging period in its 84-year history, having made a major contribution to MAG while throughout his career in the company.

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

“While there are certainly other challenges ahead, I am confident that we will soon start to see the benefits of the recovery plans that Karen has helped put in place and I look forward to working with Ian and his team. direction to move them forward.”

It comes after passengers were greeted with ‘nightmare’ chaos at Manchester Airport this morning.

Passengers said they arrived in “scary” queues and “chaos” caused by continuing staff shortages.







Photos shared from a backroom area administered by third-party baggage handlers at Manchester Airport
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Picture:

MEN Media)


In recent weeks, the airport has been plagued by huge queues at both check-in and security, as well as massive delays and problems reclaiming baggage on arrival .

Today was no different, with passengers sharing more photos of lines snaking out of terminal buildings and into the car park in the early hours of the morning.

Some people said they faced hours of waiting and even missed their flights.

Airport bosses previously said the delays were due to staff shortages and industry-wide recruiting challenges.

They said the airport was trying to catch up as international travel slowly began to return to normal, amid the ongoing Covid pandemic.







Queues for check-in at Manchester Airport as chaos continues
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Picture:

Getty Images)


The airport had laid off a number of people because of the pandemic.

Travelers were furious, however, describing the scene as “chaotic” and “scary”.

An airport employee even quit, disgusted by the way he was being managed.

Ray Ellis, 54, said he quit in protest at what he called ‘chaotic operations’ – and said he feared for the safety of passengers.

A traveler named Matt tweeted directly at the airport, saying, “This is an absolute disgrace. It’s 6:10 p.m. and security already recognizes that security nightmares are going to cause people to miss flights this morning.”







Unclaimed bags in Terminal 3 at Manchester Airport on April 2
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Picture:

Alison Unwin/MEN Media)








Queues pictured on March 17, problems at the airport go back weeks
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Picture:

MEN Media)


Robert Whittaker said it was “maximum chaos” and it took him over two hours to get through security at Terminal 2.

“I recommend showing up AT LEAST 3 hours before your flight,” he said.

One passenger, posting to the Cheshire Dyslexia Testing Twitter account, said: “Scary queues for security weaved through the car park when we arrived at 5.50am for the T1 flight at 8.15am but the queue Fast Track is much shorter, moving quickly and we passed in 40 min.

“Very glad I pre-ordered Fast-Track two weeks ago. People in normal queue 2-3h.”

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