Fury at airport bungle

FURIOUS travellers missed flights and faced long delays after a security screening bungle at Hobart Airport yesterday.
DAMIEN BROWN | January 03, 2011 12.01am

Only one X-ray scanner was in use, causing long delays as travellers stood in a queue more than 200m long.
Qantas spokesman Simon Rushton confirmed an “unusual peak” had caused longer than expected waits at security and the matter would be investigated.
Angry passengers contacted the Mercury yesterday, furious they had either missed their flight or had been left standing for a long time as a second scanner sat idle.

Hobart lawyer and Mercury columnist Greg Barns was one of the passengers held up.
“This is just ridiculous, people are getting angry and rightly so,” Mr Barns said.
“What kind of image is this creating for visitors to the state, these people need to get their act together.”
Qantas is contracted by the Federal Government to provide security and screening services at the airport.
The service is carried out by MSS Security but the company acts on demands by Qantas as to how many scanners are open at any one time.
“We carefully plan all of our airport resources to cater for the different patterns of the day and the year,” Mr Rushton said.

“There has been some longer than expected queuing today and this will be investigated.”
A Hobart Airport spokesman said the situation was “unacceptable” but management had no control over security screening at the terminal.
During quieter winter months the terminal can operate with just one scanner because of low passenger volumes.
During summer, however, traffic remains steady and the second scanner is usually used.
Qantas bowed to public frustration last year and agreed to reopen the second line.

And in recent months the morning peak period when the second scanner is open has been extended by an hour.
Qantas and Jetstar passengers who had checked in but were not at the departure gate were called forward in the security line so they made it to their flights.
An airport spokesman said passengers should listen carefully if they were stuck in lines either at check-in or security for messages about moving forward so they did not miss their flights.


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