Birmingham Airport is to axe its 24-hour paramedic service for passengers from Monday.
In a cost-cutting move, the airport has scrapped its contract with West Midlands Ambulance Service and instead trained its staff in first aid.
Now, if a passenger in the terminal or on an inbound flight, feels unwell they will be treated by a member of staff with a first aid bag.
Previously there was an ambulance station at the airport which operated 365 days a year with paramedics just a few minutes away.
If a passenger fell ill on a flight heading for the airport the pilot would radio ahead and a paramedic would be waiting on the runway.
Now they will be greeted by a first aider who will assess the patient and then dial 999 for an ambulance if it is serious.
The controversial move is set to save an estimated £200,000 a year but has sparked safety fears from concerned security staff.
A member of staff, who asked not to be named, claimed paramedics get called out about 20 times a day.
“These are fully qualified personnel and they are in charge of controlled drugs,” he said.
“Now they are going to get rid of the paramedics and replace them with basic first-aiders who can’t even administer drugs. It’s absolutely despicable.
“How is that an adequate replacement for a fully-trained paramedic?”
The British Association of Airline Pilots (BALPA), said its safety and security officers would be contacting Birmingham to “learn all the facts”.
A spokesman said: “BALPA and its pilots are always concerned when there are changes like this.
“When someone is sick on a plane, be it a passenger or a member of the crew, speedy medical aid is essential. So we shall be monitoring this change with great vigilance.”
An airport spokesman said it had 70 staff trained in basic first aid, but they would not be able to administer drugs or oxygen.
“They will be there to meet the plane and give basic first aid until the emergency services arrive,” he said.
“We used to have paramedics here on site 24/7 and we will still be able to get hold of a paramedic by dialling 999. This will bring us in line with other airports.”