There have been staff shortages at the airport ‘over the last couple of weeks’, according to the infrastructure minister.

In Tynwald on Tuesday, Juan Watterson asked Tim Crookall if he would make a statement about leadership and staffing at the airport.

To this, Mr Crookall stated ‘there has been a shortage of staff over the last couple of weeks’ as the airport has ‘suffered with Covid’.

Deputy airport director Jeremy Spake resigned last week and the acting airport director is currently ‘on sick leave’, which has left the airport ‘without an accountable manager’.

He added that all regulations was ‘being adhered to’ despite this.

The minister said the recruitment of a new airport director is ‘scheduled to conclude very shortly’.

Middle MHK Stu Peters pointed out that the closing date for applications for airport director was ‘over three months ago’ and wanted to know if this was down to a human resources or airport management issue. He felt it was ‘unacceptable’ and had left the airport ‘rudderless’.

Mr Crookall disagreed and said it’s been ‘difficult for staff’ but the department will ‘very shortly’ have someone to fill that post.

Since resigning, Mr Spake has said he was subject to bullying and harassment in the workplace.

He said in a post: ‘My employer believed it was better to ignore my real concerns and with a heavy heart I have been left with no choice but to move on.’

In response to this, Mr Watterson asked if there would be an independent review conducted into the airport. Mr Crookall admitted there are ‘ongoing issues’. He added: ‘Everything in my time has been dealt with correctly, in regards to what went on beforehand I’ve been assured everything’s been dealt with correctly.’

The minister said he would ask the Public Services Commission to look into the reported problems but couldn’t promise it would say yes.

This follows people receiving text messages from EasyJet asking them to arrive for their flight three hours early.

Mr Crookall said: ‘This is an issue the island has suffered from, but it’s been happening elsewhere as well.

‘Any EasyJet messages are not specific to the Isle of Man but as a result of difficulty recruiting at airports.

‘The escalator is also back in service and the two X-ray machines are back up and working.’