Exclusive:Major Edinburgh Airport baggage delays blamed on handling agent Swissport after Jet2 passengers suffer long waits

Staff shortage forces company to draft in extra workers

A new holiday luggage nightmare is developing at Scotland’s busiest airport with one of its main handling agents accused of causing "overcrowded and chaotic” conditions as passengers endure long waits for their bags.

Swissport, which handles baggage for 26 airlines at Edinburgh Airport including Ryanair, Jet2 and Tui, is understood to be suffering significant staff shortages and has admitted having to draft in workers from elsewhere.

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The delays at baggage reclaim come despite the aviation industry insisting there would be no repeat of last summer’s widespread disruption caused by post-Covid staffing problems as airlines sought to rapidly ramp up flights after pandemic restrictions were lifted.

However, last year another handling agent, Menzies Aviation, was worst affected, principally because of baggage problems at larger airports from where passengers were travelling to Edinburgh.

One source described the situation at Swissport as “acute”. They said: "It's going to be a difficult summer for the company".

They said: “All the handling agents are finding it difficult to recruit but it’s unfair to badge them all as the problem – Swissport are the ones who have recruited poorly and are failing at every turn. They knew the issues they faced last year and just haven’t planned properly. It’s ridiculous.”

John Smith, who flew back to Edinburgh from Faro last Wednesday with Jet2, said: “I arrived to find the baggage hall crammed with customers and no luggage being offloaded from any flights. Many passengers had been there for a considerable amount of time.

"It transpired that two flights had been waiting for an hour and 45 minutes for their luggage to arrive and two others had arrived in the interim period and during that whole time no luggage had been offloaded from any flights. It was overcrowded and chaotic with children distressed and passengers venting their frustration at the airline staff.

"I have always been delighted with Jet2 but they are being badly let down by their luggage handlers which gives them and Edinburgh Airport a bad reputation.

“This is not a new issue – it has been appalling for countless years – so why is the airport management not addressing this continual problem? There is no point in expanding destinations and the number of flights if they cannot cope with the existing demand. Bad enough for locals but a disgraceful first impression to tourists to Edinburgh and Scotland.”

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A spokesperson for Swissport said: "We apologise for any passengers experiencing baggage delays. External factors such as short-shipped bags have exacerbated a short-term resource issue and we are determined to provide our dedicated staff with the support they need, including bringing in additional colleagues from other Swissport locations and working closely with our airline and airport partners to improve turnaround times."

An Edinburgh Airport spokespersn said: “We understand the frustration that can be caused as passengers wait for the return of luggage and we clearly don’t want waits to be extensive. We know some of the handling agents on site can experience resourcing issues at peak times and we try to help where we can.

“The airport has sourced and allocated additional staff for some of the agents who face particular issues. We are continuing to monitor the situation as we establish what else we can do.”



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