The Guardian - Joe Middleton

IATA says approval times for new staff security clearances have more than tripled, driving potential employees away

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has blamed the half-term gridlock besetting UK airports on a problem with getting clearances for new staff, saying the time taken to approve recruits has more than tripled.

Willie Walsh, director general of Iata, said it was now taking as long as three months to get security badges for new employees in the UK, compared with three to four weeks previously, meaning potential staff were seeking out other jobs.

Thousands have seen their half-term getaway plans upended by flight cancellations and lengthy queues at major transport hubs in the UK, including Heathrow, Manchester, Gatwick and Glasgow airports, amid a surge in demand and lack of ground and air staff.

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