Gatwick hires 400 security staff to ease queues

July 20, 2022


The UK’s ‘busiest’ airport, Gatwick, has announced it has hired hundreds of new security staff in recent weeks to help ease summer queues.

Bosses said 400 workers have been recruited in a move aimed at reducing pressure on the airport, which carries more than 6.2m passengers, as it goes into the busy school summer holiday period.

Gatwick Airport processes 120,000 passengers per day during peak times and is the busiest single runway airport in the world.

A spokesman told Security Journal UK that actual number of new staff is in excess of 400 and will be joining existing staffers in stages over the next month. Most will have a “passenger-facing” role.

He added: “They have already started coming on board after training and the completion of vetting. They’ll all be in place within a month.”

Gatwick, which is based near the Sussex town of Crawley, is also trying to increase awareness about placing liquids in a clear bag, separate from hand luggage, to reduce delays at security.

Chief Operating Officer Adrian Witherow said: “With passenger numbers rapidly returning to 2019 levels, we expect to be busy, particularly at peak times such as weekends and the forthcoming school summer holidays.

“We are doing everything possible to make the airport process as smooth as possible, including recruiting and training hundreds of new security staff, many of whom have already started or will be in coming weeks.

“It’s also important, however, that we do what we can to help passengers prepare for security before reaching the trays.

“We understand many already do this, but, by publishing the list of top items that are currently being forgotten, we hope to get even more people through airport security quickly, so they can go on and relax ahead of their flight, enjoy a drink or sit down for a meal.”

The announcement comes amid an air travel crisis which has seen thousands of flights cancelled and many passengers forced to wait for several hours in long queues at airports.

Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, recently introduced a cap of 100,000 daily departing passengers until September 11.

Go to

The bosses, increasingly concerned about cancellations, asked with carriers to stop selling summer tickets.

The Daily Telegraph claimed it has seen a letter from Mark Powell, Heathrow’s director of operational planning, which said a cap of 1,200 aircraft arriving and departing per day could last until October 29.

Some industry observers believe the worst will come as the summer holiday season begins in earnest this week but may have eased by Christmas as the new staff are hired and bedded into their new roles.

Airport passengers flying to and from the Heathrow and elsewhere in the uK have suffered severe disruption in recent months.

They have been frustrated with long security queues and baggage system breakdowns.

Ground handling staff at Heathrow are only at 70% of pre-pandemic levels – but the passenger numbers are now at 80%-85%.

EasyJet announced recently that it has recruited around 350 new staff on the customer servivcve side and is opening a new call centre in Milan, which it hopes will ease ease delays.

The airline has also decided to station head office staff in UK airports to provide additional support to passengers, and has introduced new interactive signage in airports.

Easyjet hopes it allow customers travelling on early-morning flights to drop hold baggage off the evening before they travel.


The land on which Gatwick Airport stands was first developed as an aerodrome in the late 1920s. The Air Ministry approved commercial flights from the site in 1933, and the first terminal, “The Beehive”, was built in 1935. Scheduled air services from the new terminal began the following year.

During the Second World War, the airport was taken over by the military and was known as RAF Gatwick. After the war, the airport returned to its civilian capacity. Major development work at the airport took place during the 1950s. The airport buildings were designed by Yorke Rosenberg Mardall between 1955 and 1988.[9]

In the 1960s, British United Airways (BUA) and Dan-Air were two of the largest British independent[nb 2] airlines at Gatwick, with the former establishing itself as the dominant scheduled operator at the airport as well as providing a significant number of the airport’s non-scheduled services and the latter becoming its leading provider of inclusive tour charter services.

Read Next

Security Journal UK

Subscribe Now

£99.99 for each year
No payment items has been selected yet