Up to 80 extra staff are to be drafted in to work at Heathrow Airport in a bid to reduce the ‘unacceptable’ queues that passengers have been facing.
It has emerged that in recent weeks customers have been forced to wait in long queues up to two hours at passport control as they wait to get their passports checked.
This compares with target waiting times of no longer than 25 minutes for EU passengers and no more than 45 minutes for international passengers.
“Our customers are saying this is unacceptable, the queues are far too long and it is happening on a regular basis.” Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG said in an interview.
After a recent visit to Heathrow, immigration minister Damian Green announced 80 extra staff are to work on the UK Border desks and plans for a new control centre to improve efficiency.
Meanwhile Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May have held meetings to ensure this issue remains a priority for the Government, as London prepares to welcome the Games of the Olympics 2012 in less than 3 months.
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We are encouraged by the announcement of additional border resources for Heathrow and welcome the new sense of urgency being shown by the Government to tackle this problem.”
A Border Force spokesperson said: “As passenger numbers increase in the run up to the Olympics we are fully prepared to manage busy periods and will be implementing our plans.
“The Border Force will ensure that all immigration desks at Heathrow and other key ports and airports in the south east are fully staffed during peak periods over the summer.”