AIRPORT Covid Check Queues Could Be The Next Big Worry For Brits Going On Their Summer Holidays
Summer holiday fears for British travellers have another problem on the horizon as while giving evidence on Wednesday 14 to the Commons Transport Select Committee, Chris Garton, the Chief solutions officer at Heathrow, told MPs that passengers are being forced to queue for up to six hours due to coronavirus checks at the border.
Mr. Garton said, “the situation is becoming untenable”, with the police being forced to step in, explaining that wait times in recent days have typically been “well in excess of two hours and up to six hours, We’re starting to see disruption in some of the arriving passengers”.
He continued, “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”.
Adding, “What’s happened is a whole host of new checks – 100 percent 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”.
Explaining the situation to the committee of MPs, Mr. Garton told how the shortage of staff for processing passengers at the border had always been a problem, but that now, the pandemic “has just made that so much worse than it was before”.
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”, saying that he believes the solution could be that every passenger’s entry to the UK is “assured” before they begin their journey.
An official spokesman for the Prime Minister’s office defended the airport Covid check queues, saying that Border Force is “completing thorough checks of every arriving passenger, which is the approach the public would expect”, adding that the Government will ensure there are “sufficient measures there and resources available” when international leisure travel resumes, as reported by thesun.co.uk.
Published euroweekly 11 April 2021