Birmingham Airport today (5th July) welcomed a visit by Aviation Minister, Baroness Sugg CBE, who officially opened a £14.5m investment by the Airport to improve the journey for its 13m annual passengers.
Picture (from left to right): Deane Arnold, Terminal Operations Manager at Birmingham Airport; Tim Clarke, Birmingham Airport Chairman; Dame Caroline Spelman MP; Baroness Sugg CBE; Mick Connelly, OCS; Simon Richards, Acting Managing Director at Birmingham Airport; and Sasha Drake, Terminal Operations at Birmingham Airport.
The airport’s flagship investment is the new security entrance area, offering passengers a bright and airy environment before reaching the search area. It features a spacious liquid preparation area, a bank of 12 boarding card gates and dedicated channels for passengers with reduced mobility and express lane passes.
This physical investment, plus the new parallel tray loading equipment, will speed up the processing time for customers. The new security entrance area is part of an ongoing commitment by the Airport to improve the passenger experience for people living and working in the West Midlands.
Additionally, the Minister visited a new special assistance area created to improve the processing and waiting environment for passengers requiring assistance.
Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said: “It is fantastic to see Birmingham Airport investing in the service it delivers for customers.
“Through the Government’s Aviation Strategy we are working with industry to achieve a safe, secure and sustainable aviation sector that meets the needs of consumers and of a global, outward-looking Britain. Delivering a world class customer experience at our airports is central to this.
“I particularly welcome their commitment to ensuring that passengers with disabilities or requiring assistance get the flying experience they deserve.”
Passengers have access to more efficient self-service bag drop kiosks to speed up the check-in process and for arriving passengers, five additional e-gates have been installed and new modern seating area provided for those waiting for their loved ones.
Recognising the importance of passenger drop off areas for drivers, the airport has created a free 30-minute drop off car park and modernised the Premium drop off car park adjacent to the terminal.
For the younger passenger, the ‘Sky Zone’ entertainment area has had a makeover and equipped with the latest fun, interactive and educational equipment.
Simon Richards, Acting Managing Director Birmingham Airport, said, “We are committed to continually improve our customer service and key to this is offering our passengers and employees modern, efficient and comfortable facilities.
“This significant investment has been made to cater for the growth in passengers that we have experienced over the last few years and in preparation for the fast approaching summer season.
“We are grateful that Baroness Sugg has found the time to visit the team and recognise the work that we are doing to help our customers.”
Other investment to improve the airside retail and catering offer have also been made as well as recruiting extra people in key customer touch points including security, terminal operations and customer service.
The Airport is planning to make further improvements throughout the year. These include an airside and landside bus replacement project, baggage carousel capacity enhancements and the phase one roll out of the new baggage x-ray system which will increase processing capabilities.