/Heathrow arrivals facing lengthy six-hour queues as police forced to step in

Heathrow arrivals facing lengthy six-hour queues as police forced to step in

Brits arriving at Heathrow could face queues of more than six hours after Covid travel rules are relaxed from May 17, according to a report.

People flying into the UK for essential travel are apparently already facing significant delays at the airport, despite passenger number being far lower than usual.

Chief solutions officer Chris Garton told MPs that “the situation is becoming untenable” and the police have been forced to step in

Giving evidence to the Commons Transport Select Committee he said that wait times in recent days have typically been “well in excess of two hours and up to six hours”.

Passengers arriving in Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport
Long queues are already being reported
(Image: PA)

He said: “We’re starting to see disruption in some of the arriving passengers.

“If you’re made to queue for two or three hours, it’s not something you want to do, and we’re even having to involve the police service to help us.”

Mr Garton went on: “What’s happened is a whole host of new checks – 100% checking of everybody – has been introduced, and that obviously has put a tremendous burden on the officers who work at the border.

“The Home Office has not provided them with additional officers.”

He told the committee the amount of resources for processing passengers at the border “always was a problem”, but the coronavirus pandemic “has just made that so much worse than it was before.”

Passengers arriving in Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport
The government said Border Force was being thorough
(Image: PA)

He continued: “We want to see that bottleneck removed as quickly as possible. It’s a problem today, it will become a much bigger problem after May 17 (when foreign leisure travel from England could resume).”

Mr Garton said the “solution” is to enable passengers to ensure their entry to the UK is “assured” before they begin their journey

The Prime Minister’s spokesman defended the queues, saying Border Force is “completing thorough checks of every arriving passenger” which is “the approach the public would expect”.

He added that the Government will ensure there are “sufficient measures there and resources available” when international leisure travel resumes.

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