British Airways calls on Sajid Javid to end two-hour queues at Heathrow
6 August 2018, 09:01
Passengers are routinely facing "unacceptable" two-hour queues at Heathrow Airport's passport control, the boss of British Airways has said.
In a letter to The Times newspaper, chief executive Alex Cruz called on Home Secretary Sajid Javid to take action to end the "border farce".
Tackling lengthy queues, which are "significantly worse" than elsewhere on the continent, should be a priority over plans for designated lanes for UK passport holders post-Brexit, Mr Cruz argued.
Writing in the Times, Mr Cruz said: "Two-hour queues are fast becoming the norm for those visiting from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), despite a target of no more than a 45-minute wait.
"Even EEA citizens wait almost an hour.
"This is unacceptable, yet Nick Jariwalla, the head of Border Force at Heathrow, said recently that things were unlikely to change and it was unreasonable for his team to be expected to meet their targets."
Mr Cruz said the west London airport has missed its target for non-EEA arrivals more than 6,000 times this year.
"Queues are significantly worse than at many other major world airports.
"What kind of message does this send, as we try to build links outside the EU?"
Mr Cruz said: "We need more than UK-only lanes to show Britain is open for business, and that includes Sajid Javid taking immediate action to address this border farce once and for all."
A number of passengers arriving at Terminal 4 had to queue for up to three hours before being processed due to "lack of staffing" during England's World Cup match against Colombia on 3 July.
A Home Office spokesman said: "The vast majority of people who arrive at Heathrow get through the border within our service standards.
"But we understand the frustration for those who have experienced longer waits and remain fully committed to working with our partners to reduce waiting times as far as is possible.
"At the same time, we will not compromise the essential checks we carry out at the border which keep our country safe.
"We are making sure Border Force has the resources it needs and are deploying 200 additional staff at Heathrow over the summer."
(c) Sky News 2018: British Airways calls on Sajid Javid to end two-hour queues at Heathrow