While travel chaos and delays have hit a number of airports and airlines across the UK, flights have continued to run relatively smoothly from Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA).
In fact, the travel hub has warned passengers against turning up extra early for flights as that is ‘more likely to cause a queue than to avoid it’.
So, with even more travellers taking advantage of the increased flights from Liverpool following the airline’s summer schedules, how has LJLA avoided the disruption affecting airports such as nearby Manchester?
Paul Staples, operations director at Liverpool John Lennon Airport, told LiverpoolWorld that one of the main reasons is the careful management of staffing levels and upgrades to services during the COVID-19 lockdown.
He said: “The complexity of Liverpool is far simpler than some of the bigger airports that are experiencing problems, so we haven’t had to ramp up at the same rates as those big airports have.
“We used furlough to the maximum during the pandemic. So where I think a lot of companies and airports laid off large numbers of people, we didn’t do that.
“We continued to operate all the way through. We continued to fly the Isle of Man route, bringing hospital patients into the airport from the island to our hospitals.
“That meant our fire service, air traffic, and wildlife operations were continuing and engaged all the way through the pandemic.
“We planned ahead and started to recruit people in January for an Easter start, so we left ourselves plenty of time to be ready.”
Mr Staples added: “We changed the security lane sat up whilst we were closed, so we spent around £650,000, meaning that when people go through security, their trays are automatically returned to them, which speeds things up.
“It’s one of the strong reasons why we’re seeing a good performance in security.”
Liverpool Airport travel advice during busy period
The Airport is continuing its recovery from the pandemic and expects to be significantly busier than just a few months ago.
Mr Staples said: “We are currently seeing load factors - that’s the number of people on flights - at about 75% of what they were pre-pandemic. We expect them to climb over above 80% during summer.”
While travellers are being urged to allow ample time for check-in and security, LJLA are currently asking passengers to arrive no more than 2.5 hours prior to their flight departure time.
“We are not experiencing problems here, so if people do turn up four or five hours early, they are more likely to cause a queue than to avoid it,” LJLA’s operations director told LiverpoolWorld.
“So two, two and a half hours (before your flight leaves) is absolutely ample.”
Travellers are being reminded that pre-COVID security restrictions relating to items in hand luggage remain in place, and incorrectly packed carry-ons could cause delays for travellers.
Full details of baggage allowances and restricted items can be found on the airport’s website.
Passengers should also ensure that they check what restrictions are in place for the destination they are travelling to, with some countries continuing to have COVID related restrictions for arriving passengers.