Bosses at Manchester airport have launched a mass recruitment drive to fill 500 vacancies after scenes of airport chaos over half-term, while its CEO
Bosses at Manchester airport have launched a mass recruitment drive to fill 500 vacancies after scenes of airport chaos over half-term, while its CEO has pocketed a £2.5million salary.
Despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic leading to widespread staff redundancies, pay cuts and absences, the CEO of the Manchester Airport Group Charlie Cornish took home a £2.5million salary last year – an increase of £500,000 on 2020.
Families last week were faced with hours of queues, hundreds of flight cancellations and an absence of staff at airports across the UK – with Manchester Airport being one of the worst affected.
Things got so bad on the ground in Manchester that one TUI pilot actually helped load bags onto their plane when there were no ground staff available.
The flight had already been pushed back from May 29 to May 30, and after passengers were delayed once again they praised the pilot for taking matters into their own hands.
Manchester Airport Group CEO, Charlie Cornish, took a £500,000 pay rise in 2021 compared to 2020
Passengers queue for check-in at Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2 during recent travel disruption
The 62-year-old is also understood to have received various other perks such as a large bonus, and lives in a £2million house in Prestbury, Cheshire.
The group which owns Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports made 900 redundancies during the pandemic, as well as making all staff take a 10% pay cut.
Additionally a further 1,500 jobs were cut across the three airports by external agency staff, which has exacerbated the problems faced by customers so far this year.
Travel and consumer champion Martyn James told the Sun: ‘The only thing that has been taking off lately with this company seems to be the chief executive’s perks.
‘For the thousands of people queuing round the block it is an insult.’
The CEO’s troubles look far from over as the summer is set to see more delays – as Manchester airport tries to urgently hire 500 staff to plug the gaps.
Most of the roles are being advertised as immediate starts, with anyone who signs up being instantly given £250 in cash if they refer a friend.
Last night Ray Ellis, 54, who worked at the airport but quit, claimed he resigned over the ‘chaotic’ operations at his former workplace.
Ray, who was a baggage handler, explained to the Sun: ‘Experienced staff left during Covid. The new staff haven’t been in the job long enough to deal with problems.’
Although the airport announced in April it had recruited around 200 new staff, with a further 250 going through security screening, the problems caused by the huge spike in demand post-coronavirus shows no sign of letting up.
But it is believed this still leaves the group short by hundreds of workers.
During the half-term week thousands of passengers were left stranded at UK airports or abroad as the aviation industry descended into chaos.
According to the Manchester Airport Group, demand for travel has been rapidly rising since the start of this, rising from 37% of pre-covid demand in January to 80% in April.
Passengers were left in long queues which stretched out Manchester airport’s doors and into underground car parks
Manchester airport wasn’t the only one to see chaos during the half-term – passengers were pictured sleeping in Bristol airport after flights were cancelled on June 4
The Manchester chaos had impacts abroad too – here a young girl is asleep on the floor of Lisbon airport after the family’s flight back to Manchester was delayed
The CEO said in April: ‘The UK aviation sector is now recovering quickly but for most of the last two years we have effectively been in survival mode.
‘When the pandemic struck, we were faced with almost no income and huge fixed costs. Doing nothing was not an option.
‘We had to cut costs just to survive – it was as simple as that.
‘We reduced expenditure wherever we could, and as a last resort we had to offer colleagues the option of voluntary redundancy because of the uncertainty about when international travel would resume.
‘The simple fact is that we don’t currently have the number of staff we need to provide the level of service that our passengers deserve.
‘Despite our efforts since last Autumn, the tight labour market around the airport has meant we have just not been able to hire people quickly enough to establish a full-strength team.’
Industry experts have warned the public that problems are set to continue into the summer and it will not be a smooth season for air travel.
CEO Charlie Cornish apologised to customers in April: ‘I cannot apologise enough for the disruption people have faced’ – but has not made a statement on the group’s site since.
He has been awarded a £500,000 bonus in addition to his £2.5million salary – but has not yet received it.