East Midlands Airport is to sack up to 30 security staff in a bid to cut costs over the winter season.
Bosses have blamed fewer flights and a slump in passenger numbers for the decision, but as UK airports move towards automated security measures, sacked officers could be forgiven for thinking that they have been replaced by a robot.
The e-Border system employed at Bristol and Cardiff airports removed the need for experienced check-in staff, whilst Gordon Brown’s full-body scanners have put the lid on recruitment at Manchester and London Heathrow.
Modern airports will always require security staff, but there’s no denying that robotic hardware and fancy scanners are becoming the norm at British borders. It begs the question: can a computer be trusted to safeguard planes and passengers?
Critics say that the human eye is superior to a few lines of code, because the Prime Minister’s scanners cannot detect low-density materials such as plastic and liquids, both of which are commonly used in homemade bombs.
Of course, these items would be immediately suspicious to a trained security guard.
East Midlands Airport claims that passenger safety will not be compromised by the latest round of redundancies, which will come into effect over the coming weeks. Unite, the general workers’ union, is maintaining a dialogue with the airport, in an effort to reduce the redundancies.
Whether the airport will be able to deliver on a promise to upgrade airport security is up for debate, but until the new scanners arrive, the remaining security staff could have their work cut out for them.
East Midlands Airport is not currently affected by the adverse weather conditions, but passengers are advised to check with their airline before departing.