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Britain’s Flag Carrier Hits out at Home Office Over Immigration Delays

BA has called the situation “unnecessary” and has urged the agency to become more efficient in its operations.

Britain’s flag carrier has hit out at the Home Office, the body responsible for immigration into the country, over the lengthy lines at the nation’s airports. Commenting specifically on London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), British Airways (BA) says that both UK citizens and visitors arriving into the country on international flights are having to wait for more than an hour to clear immigration.

The Telegraph quoted the carrier as saying that the situation was “dreadful” and “unnecessary.” BA also said that only a third of the 29 eGates are open at any given time at the facility’s Terminal 5, with many closing by 11 p.m. local time, just as passengers are making their ways off of arriving flights.

Raghbir S. Pattar, BA’s director of Heathrow, urged the UK Border Force, the agency responsible for the country’s immigration operations, to concentrate on becoming more efficient.

He was quoted by the outlet as saying, “It is a constant frustration to us and to our customers that after a long flight they have to stand in queues [lines], sometimes for over an hour, just to get back into the country. And it is a dreadful welcome for visitors to the UK to be faced with a packed immigration hall and the prospect of a frustrating delay to the start of their holiday or business trip. It adds insult to injury when you’re stuck in a queue [line] but can see numerous gates which just aren’t being used.”

“We wholeheartedly support the essential role the Border Force has to protect the UK but more must be done to prevent these unnecessary delays,” Pattar added.

However, a spokesperson for the Home Office countered Pattar’s statement, saying, “This statement significantly misrepresents the experience of the vast majority of passengers arriving at Heathrow this summer. More than 99 percent of British and European passengers arriving at Heathrow are dealt with within 25 minutes. For passengers from outside the European Economic Area, 87 percent of passengers have been dealt with within 45 minutes.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
twb3 September 8, 2017

When flying to a destination in the UK, I fly into Dublin and either connect there or rail/sail to my destination. Avoids the delays at LHR and Irish immigration officers more professional and polite than their UK counterparts in my experience.

Matt4 August 31, 2017

Those who think that waiting 45 minutes or even 25 minutes for going through immigration is just acceptable just should try it by themselves...