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Birmingham Airport boss blames Government 'restrictions' on new security hall for long queues

The boss of Birmingham Airport has insisted "staff are not the issue" and blamed Government restrictions on its new security equipment for long queues faced by thousands of holiday-goers this year.

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Chief executive Nick Barton also apologised to customers for delays they have experienced in recent weeks.

The West Midlands' biggest airport is one of the first in the country to have applied to implement new security screening standards for passenger and cabin baggage.

The rule change would allow for liquids of up to two litres to be taken through in cabin baggage, but Birmingham Airport earlier said it was awaiting "regulatory approval".

Many passengers visiting Birmingham Airport in recent weeks have faced long queues

The airport has also completed a £60 million investment into a new security hall, which Mr Barton explained it was unable to use as expected due to Government restrictions.

Mr Barton told BBC Midlands Today: "Unfortunately, because of regulations from the Department for Transport we are unable to use that machinery to the design standard that we originally assumed it would be allowed to be used, so we are managing that.

"We have to use people to manage the problem, but occasionally it does create queues at the airport which we deeply regret and do apologise for.

"Staff are not the issue, there are no shortages of staff at the airport, this is all about restrictions on a brand new system that was mandated to be installed by June 1.

Passengers have shared photos of the queues at Birmingham Airport

"The Government made the statement on Friday and within it said this was a temporary measure. At the moment that is as much as we have got to go on."

The issue has resulted in "snaking queues" at departures, which passengers have described as "absolute carnage".

Mr Barton said some holidaymakers have been arriving at the airport up to nine hours before their flight which "does not help anybody".

The airport boss added: "What we are saying is just check with your airline, they are all giving good up-to-date information - typically it is three hours but it depends on the airline.

"Follow that advice, turn up with cabin baggage that has small bottles of 100ml or less and they can come through and get through security as quickly as possible."

Birmingham Airport has issued passengers with advice including that no liquids, pastes or gels over 100ml are allowed through security.

It also said liquids, pastes, and gels should stay in hand luggage during the security search area, with customers advised not to remove them.