Socialist Worker

Behind the airport queues

by a Gatwick airport worker
Issue No. 2015

The furore created by the alleged terror bomb plot last week has generated an intense and bitter row between the airline bosses and the airport operator, BAA, about the handling of the crisis and the ongoing restrictions imposed on air travellers which have made travelling from Heathrow and Gatwick an absolute nightmare for many.

Missing from much of the reporting is the background to the security problems.

Since the end of last year, BAA has initiated a change programme aimed at totally restructuring the company.

This has meant massive convulsions in the operational management structure, an almost total embargo on recruitment, and job losses. This has resulted in the airport security sections struggling to cope with the projected seasonal workload.

The events of last week first stretched then ruptured the whole operation.

The likelihood of this being an ongoing problem is very high unless BAA changes course, scraps the restructuring programme and begins to recruit staff in significant numbers to be able to provide a safe and secure environment for both passengers and staff.

The change programme has a name - it goes under the banner of “delivering excellent experience”.

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Article information

Sat 26 Aug 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2015
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