London’s Heathrow Re-Directs Flights to Other British Airports to Ease Pressure on Border Services
UK main Heathrow Airport has announced plans to re-direct certain flights to other British airports or even EU hubs to ease pressure of hours waiting on border queues, BBC reported. With mounting paperwork concerning UK arrivals over the last six months, the queues grew longer and now the entry into UK may take as long as 5-6 hours. So far the airport has managed the situation by keeping passengers on the planes to avoid overcrowding on the ground.
Heathrow wants to see more staff processing passengers at the border, and for the passenger locator form that all passengers must now show on arrival to be automated so that passengers could use the e-gates.
A Heathrow spokesperson said: "Instead of telling passengers to brace themselves for a long wait in immigration queues, Border Force should step up its efforts to automate checks for green list countries, and put in place additional resource for passengers where manual checks might be needed. Accepting delays is a further demonstration of complacency from them on the matter.
"There are protocols in place to hold passengers on planes or divert them to other airports, to prevent excessive, unnecessary and completely avoidable queues in immigration halls."
A UK Home Office spokesperson said: "Protecting public health is our priority and as we reopen international travel safely we will maintain 100% health checks at the border to protect the wider public and our vaccine rollout. While we do this, wait times are likely to be longer and we will do all we can to smooth the process, including the roll-out of our e-Gate upgrade programme during the summer and deploying additional Border Force officers."