British Airways’ CEO Alex Cruz has called on the government to address the “border farce” which he said was leading to much longer passport control queues in the UK than “most other countries”.
In a letter to The Times, Cruz said that the government’s priority should be to address “huge delays”, rather than focusing on post-Brexit plans for British-only passport queues.
Last month a report by the Airport Operators Association (AOA) said that UK Border Force waiting targets were “no longer fit for purpose”, stating that queues of two hours or more at Heathrow are now a “once a month” occurrence.
A survey of Britons published by the AOA also suggested that maximum waiting times at UK airport passport control should be halved, with the organisation’s CEO Karen Dee saying that “The UK is currently not getting this right: visitors and returning UK residents regularly face long queues”.
Today’s report in The Times said that the Home Office had deployed 200 additional staff to ease queues this summer, but cited an occasion during the recent World Cup when passengers arriving at Heathrow T4 had to queue for up to three hours “as staffing levels dropped to allow officers to watch the football”.
Current Home Office targets call for 95 per cent of passengers from the European Economic Area to wait no more than 25 minutes at passport control (45 minutes for non-EEA citizens).