Heathrow airport has confirmed plans to use its Terminals 3 and 4 as dedicated facilities for passengers arriving on flights from destinations on the government’s “red list”.
The new facility will open on June 1 at T3, before moving to T4 “as soon as operationally possible”.
Terminal 3 closed to flights in April 2020 following the onset of Covid-19, followed shortly after by Terminal 4, and in December Heathrow confirmed that T4 would stay shut until at least the end of 2021, as a result of “a continued decline in passengers”.
Arrivals from “red list” destinations must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for ten days, as well as take Day 2 and Day 8 Covid-19 tests.
The airport has come under fire in recent weeks for queues of up to six hours at border control due to added checks on arriving passengers – see our forum discussion on the topic.
In a statement provided to Business Traveller, a Heathrow spokesperson said:
“Red list routes will likely be a feature of UK travel for the foreseeable future as countries vaccinate their populations at different rates. We’re adapting Heathrow to this longer-term reality by initially opening a dedicated arrivals facility in Terminal 3 from June 1st for red list passengers arriving on direct flights.
“We will move this facility to Terminal 4 as soon as operationally possible. While opening this facility will be logistically very challenging, our hope is that it will enable Border Force to carry out its duties more efficiently as passenger volumes increase in line with the green list.
“Until then, the current red list system will remain in place. This system has been designed by the Government and has several layers of protection to keep passengers and colleagues safe – including mandatory negative Covid tests for all international arrivals, mandatory use of face coverings, social distancing, segregation and enhanced cleaning regimes and ventilation in immigration halls.”