Home offices need to “know” border delays


The Heathrow boss has instructed the Home Office to “grasp” the bottleneck, but there is still a long delay in passing border control...

John Holland-Kaye said he was not confident that border forces would be ready to deal with the relaxation of travel restrictions on May 17.

Some passengers are facing a six-hour delay, which he told the BBC is a “fully fixable problem.”

The Home Office said paperwork and medical examinations meant more delays.

However, Holland Kay said border forces still had the same personnel level, even though Heathrow Airport saw only 10% of the normal traffic passing through the airport.

Last month, it was reported that passengers at the UK’s largest airport had to wait seven hours to pass immigration, with a typical waiting time of three hours.

On Thursday, Holland Kay told the BBC that the six-hour queue was still “not uncommon.”

“Less than 10% of regular passengers, but they [Border Force] We have as many staff as before the crisis. So if BF manages his desk properly, this is completely manageable. “

Restrictions on overseas travel are not scheduled to be relaxed until May 17 at the earliest, but relaxation of measures could exacerbate delays in border control.

“We did not take enough action to be confident that the border forces could deal with it on May 17,” Holland Kay said.

“We need to know this so that border forces don’t interfere with Britain’s economic recovery,” said the Chief Executive Officer at Heathrow Airport.

A home office spokesperson said:

“If passengers do not meet the requirements to enter the UK, the queues and waiting times will be longer. The airline is responsible for ensuring that the passengers meet all the required requirements. The airport has an important responsibility to enable travelers to stay socially distant. Immigration.

“Border forces have confirmed that all passengers are in compliance with current health measures when they arrive at the border. Passengers now need to expect longer queues and waiting times there is.”

Secretary of Transportation Grant Shapps will ease the promised delays as border control begins to automate paperwork.

Secretary of Transportation Grant Shaps

Secretary of Transportation Grant Shapps promises to ease travel delays

“As we move towards unlocking international travel, we plan to address this issue, especially by initiating automation of electronic and electronic gates in the pre-departure form,” he told the House of Commons.

On Thursday, the airport revealed that it had sunk an additional £ 329 million into the red in the first three months of the year, bringing total loss to £ 2.4 billion since the start of the pandemic.

Only 1.7 million passengers passed through the airport during the quarter, down 91% from the 2019 period.

Holland-Kaye said the numbers revealed the magnitude of the Covid hit.

Aviation “ravaged”

Cargo volume also fell by 23% in 2019, highlighting how shortages of flights will affect UK trade with the world.

But Holland Kay wanted this to get worse now that blockade restrictions have been relaxed and the economy is open.

“These results show how Covid devastated trade between the aviation sector and Britain,” he said. “Resuming overseas travel from May 17th will help start the economic recovery, allow exporters to bring goods to market, and reunite families who have been away for more than a year.”

However, he predicted that it would take a long time for travel to return to pre-pandemic levels due to uncertain government policies.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport

The airport said it had reduced its annual passenger forecast from 13 million to 36 million, despite saying it had a strong underlying demand for travel. In 2019, 81 million people passed Heathrow Airport, which is owned by investors such as Ferrovial in Spain, the Qatar Investment Authority and the China Investment Authority.

Holland-Kaye said the cost savings to save cash put the airport in a strong position to benefit from the recovery of air travel.

The aviation industry hopes that the process will begin next month if travel restrictions are relaxed as planned. However, there remains uncertainty about where people can go and how digital vaccine passports work.

Mr. Chaps said he would chair the G7 Transport Ministers’ Meeting next week to discuss vaccine passports before announcing in early May which countries would allow British people to travel.

The pandemic has hit airlines around the world (an estimated 50 closed) and commercial aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing.

On Thursday, Airbus saw revenues fall 2% to € 10.4 billion (£ 9 billion) in the first three months of 2021, but aircraft deliveries to customers are expected to recover during the year. doing.

Guillaume Foley, Airbus CEO, said:

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