UK airports reveal happier passengers and fewer queues during busy August

By Lisa James
Home » UK airports reveal happier passengers and fewer queues during busy August

Heathrow, Manchester and Stansted say operations went smoothly in August, despite the air traffic control chaos.

All three said security queue times were down, and passenger satisfaction was up, which they attributed to investing in more staff and training.


Heathrow recorded 7.5 million passengers travelling through the airport last month, with security wait times averaging 1.5 minutes.

Of those, 2.5m flew to EU countries and 2m to North America.

Heathrow said passengers checked in more bags than ever before, adding: “Our baggage support team went the extra mile to help airline handlers get bags away on time.”

Passenger satisfaction was higher than before the pandemic, which the airport put down to the investment Heathrow, ground handlers and airlines have made into recruiting and training 25,000 new staff in the past two years.

“This extra resilience meant that while flights at Heathrow were impacted by UK-wide air traffic restrictions in August, operations quickly returned to normal,” Heathrow said.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “I am very proud of the way colleagues across Team Heathrow made sure that passengers had a super start to their summer holidays, with record levels of passenger satisfaction and average security queue times of less than two minutes – Heathrow is back to its best.”


August was the busiest month of the year for Manchester Airport with 3.1m people travelling through, an increase of 13% on August 2022.

Most – 98% got through security in under 15 minutes and 79% got through in under five minutes – the best figures on record.

A survey of more than 1,000 passengers over July and August showed 93% of rated their overall satisfaction as good, very good or excellent.

Managing Director Chris Woodroofe said: “Because of the nature of international travel there will always be moments where things didn’t go according to plan, but we had the people in place to make sure these hitches were fixed quickly.

“Our new 100-person resilience team, trained in a variety of roles across the airport, really helped make sure issues didn’t affect the vast majority of travellers when they did crop up.”

London Stansted

Stansted reported August was its second busiest month ever, as 2.91 million passengers travelled through.

Its busiest day of the was 18 August, when 100,561 people flew into or departed Stansted.

Stansted MD Gareth Powell said: “August rounded off what has been a very busy and positive summer at London Stansted.

“Across the summer, despite very high passenger volumes and operational challenges such as the recent air traffic control outage, we have delivered a strong and consistent level of customer service with an average security queue time of just over six minutes during our busiest departure periods of the day.

“As part of our commitment to delivering great customer service, we continually survey passengers. In July and August this year, 93% of those passengers rated their overall satisfaction with the service they received as good, very good or excellent.

“We know our passengers really value a reliable and efficient experience when passing through the airport, and I’m very proud that thanks to the hard work and professionalism of our teams right across the campus, this is what we have consistently achieved throughout the busy summer season.”   

See also:
Air traffic control chaos caused by ‘one in a million’ occurance
Airlines call for compensation as ATC disruption continues

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