Almost 150,000 to fly over Jubilee weekend as Birmingham Airport bounces back

Nearly 150,00 passengers are expected to fly in and out of Birmingham Airport over the Platinum Jubilee weekend.

Birmingham Airport
Birmingham Airport

The numbers are 144 times more than the late May bank holiday in 2020 when Britain was in Covid-19 lockdown and 10 times more than last year's bank holiday period when restrictions were still in force.

The airport is continuing to see a strong post-pandemic bounce back with more flights coming on stream to international and domestic destinations.

There have been problems with recent weeks having seen long queues to get through security for outgoing passengers.

Some have missed flights as the airport struggled to cope at peak period with not having enough trained new security staff.

The 147,000 passengers booked to fly in and out from June 2 to 5 is 89 per cent of customer volumes experienced in 2019 for the bank holiday period of May 24 to 27 before coronavirus took hold.

The Birmingham Airport terminal

On March 18 this year, all Covid-19 travel restrictions were suddenly scrapped prompting a strong bounce back in aviation demand, including from people who’d been forced to postpone trips due to Covid-19.

The airport – the UK’s third largest outside London and the UK’s seventh largest overall – was handling around 13 million passengers a year until the pandemic.

It is one of the West Midlands’ largest employers, creating jobs for 30,900 people across the West Midlands and adding £1.5 billion annually to the regional economy.

Two years ago, Britain was in the grip of Covid-19 lockdown and stringent travel restrictions had all but switched off aviation. Over the Friday leading up to it and three days of the late May bank holiday itself, just over 1,000 people arrived and departed from the airport. During the four equivalent days in 2021, 14,300 passed through the Midlands travel hub.

“We are so pleased to see customers back at BHX again,” said Birmingham Airport’s chief executive Nick Barton.

He recalls: “In the darkest days of lockdown, there were eerie moments when birdsong was the loudest sound on our airfield. Much as I love the sound of birds singing, I’m relieved to hear the buzz of airport activity once again as customers take to the skies in large numbers.

“I’d like to thank customers who present compliant baggage at our pre-flight security screening – with liquids, gels, pastes and larger electrical items removed. This helps us help you keep moving. It also helps our security officers in their vital task of keeping everyone safe.”

Passengers arriving at Birmingham Airport

As a result of travel restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic, 43 per cent of Birmingham Airport’s employees were made redundant. In anticipation of restrictions being lifted, Birmingham Airport began a recruitment campaign back in November 2021.

Since the start of 2022, the airport has increased its pool of deployable security officers by 19 per cent and its front-of-house customer service teams by 20 per cent. Recruitment continues at the airport to rebuild its resources to a level that will enable it to give the great customer service its customers expect.

The recovery in passenger numbers at the airport, which saw its first flight back in 1939, is being helped by the arrival of the new Flybe airline which started flights from Birmingham last month.

Birmingham Airport is now home to the airline’s headquarters and its first crew base with plans to create up to 200 new jobs in the region over the next three years.

It is to serve destinations including Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Avignon, Belfast, Brest, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Flybe is now based at the airport is also expanding its operation at Birmingham Airport with a 14th aircraft to be added to the numbers based at the airport in time for its summer 2023 programme of flights.

It is in response to strong demand for flights and holidays from Birmingham Airport.

A new 222 sq metre private terminal has also just opened at the airport to provides a permanent home for Signature Aviation which has previously operated from temporary facilities at the site.

The world’s largest private aviation terminal operator had the new facility built after a flood affected its previous 1930s terminal building.

Passenger numbers are expected to continue to rise throughout 2022 with the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, which begins on July 28, being a big factor.

As well as holiday flight, business travel is coming back particularly strongly for the airport.

The £500 million programme of investment aimed at increasing annual passenger numbers to 18 million by 2033, which was put on hold by the pandemic, is set to get back on track.

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