The Heathrow chief executive said he was “deeply concerned” that the UK border force would not be able to cope with additional COVID checks if all overseas travel resumes from May 17.
John Holland-Kaye told Sky News the Home Office and the UK Border Force “must get on with” checks or change the system before then – as the government hopes to allow people to go on vacation again.
He said: “We are focused on May 17th, we are preparing to open then, working with the airlines to make sure we can really welcome passengers warmly.
“But the key question is whether border forces will be ready to receive these passengers when they arrive in the country, so that they have a smooth ride through the airport and not the kind of long queues that we have unfortunately seen too often in recent weeks.
“I am deeply concerned about this, they [Border Force] struggle to cope with even the few thousand travelers arriving right now, and all the extra checks they have to go through.
“They either need to change that system or have more Border Force officers on their desks.
“Border forces and the Home Office need to get this under control by May 17 so that immigration does not become a stranglehold on the UK’s economic recovery.
“We’re not getting enough engagement from the Home Office yet.”
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps told Parliament Thursday morning that the government plans to automate pre-departure COVID test forms needed for travel so travelers can use electronic gates.
Right now, people who can travel – for a limited number of reasons – have to have their forms checked manually, resulting in long queues even if the number of travelers is low.
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This notice was published: 2021-04-29 09:44:00