Scotland's busiest airport Edinburgh says mislaid luggage has become 'new norm'

Scotland’s busiest air terminal says problem is caused at other airports but bags will now be returned to passengers faster

Passengers suffering luggage delays after flying into Edinburgh Airport has become the “new norm”, chief executive Gordon Dewar has admitted.

The problem has affected thousands of travellers at Scotland’s busiest air terminal over the past two summers, with Mr Dewar warning in February of an expected “similar poor performance” this year. He said in August last year it “should have been avoidable”.

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The delays have mainly involved baggage on connecting flights to Edinburgh from hub airports such as Heathrow, when items have not transferred between aircraft in time.

Bags are the responsibility of handling agents on behalf of the airlines, but Edinburgh Airport has stepped in to set up its own operation to get mislaid luggage to passengers more quickly.

Mr Dewar said on Thursday: “The problem that arose after Covid was a complete surprise to just about everybody in the industry.” He said that previously, only ten to 12 bags a day were “misconnected”, which increased to 50 on a bad day, but that went up to hundreds a day after the pandemic.

Mr Dewar said: “Nobody was equipped for it because we hadn’t expected it and the handling staff [employed by separate firms], who were already struggling to recruit, did not have any resource to deal with this completely unexpected problem.

“What’s different this time round is we’ve accepted that this is a new norm. We don’t really understand why the airlines put up with that because it’s failures at hubs that are fairly consistently the same ones.

Baggage problems have dogged Edinburgh Airport over the last two summers. (Photo contributed)Baggage problems have dogged Edinburgh Airport over the last two summers. (Photo contributed)
Baggage problems have dogged Edinburgh Airport over the last two summers. (Photo contributed)

“We have invested in ensuring that our handlers have the resource to do it, and I’m confident that they have, so there are now dedicated teams to deal with whatever comes at them. We’ve also invested in facilities to store [bags], so it’s not the mess that it was, with baggage heaps getting in people’s way.”

Mr Dewar said the airport also now had the technology to ensure bags could be sent by courier to passengers quickly.

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He said: “While it’s still annoying that we are getting these ‘miss rates’ - you’re still really annoyed if you get the bag 12 hours late rather than having it with you - but we’re confident [it] won’t be two or three days.”

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