Passengers are being warned they could face delays at Stansted Airport, with more than 1.3 million people expected to pass through its doors in the next fortnight.
Over the Easter holidays many people are expected to take advantage of a significant easing of travel restrictions in the UK and take a break abroad.
Stansted Airport is expecting this holiday to be its busiest time since before the pandemic. Last year just 8,000 people used the airport over the Easter weekend, but this year that figure is expected to top 240,000 – representing a 30-fold increase.
Author and broadcaster Phil Johnson uses Stansted regularly and flew to Athens on Tuesday morning and said he had never seen it so busy.
“We arrived more than three hours before our flight, and the queues were quickly up to the entrance door.
“The poor staff seemed to be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people.
“People were getting tetchy, they were getting anxious, some people were trying to bust through the queue, and a couple of people did queue-jump.”
Stansted Airport still has issues with staff sickness due to Covid and while it continues to recruit new staff members as passenger numbers increase again, those new recruits still need to be trained and pass security checks.
The airport’s managers are appealing for people to be patient as they emerge from what they describe as “the most challenging two years in our history.”
Steve Griffiths, Stansted’s managing director, said: “I want to reassure people that we are working hard to get back to where we need to be.
“While queues may be longer than people are used to at times, customers can definitely help us by arriving in good time.”
There could also be some disruption in the departure lounge over the busy Easter weekend as part of the airport’s £12m investment in new bars, restaurants, and retail outlets.