Craig Kreeger, the CEO of Virgin Atlantic, has spoken of his exasperation with the immigration wait times at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR). He has added that the lengthy lines at LHR – in addition to creating more work for his staff – are resulting in a negative arrivals experience for travelers.
Passport wait times at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) show no sign of abating and the Huffington Post reports that Virgin Atlantic has voiced its concern at the current situation. The carrier has said that these lines have resulted in additional work for staff, who must conduct checks on passengers’ entry credentials.
According to Craig Kreeger, Virgin Atlantic’s CEO, these wait times are having a negative impact on the passenger experience, with many left “frustrated before they’ve even started their trip.”
He also added that Virgin employees have begun to offer food and drinks to those stuck in lines at the border. Expressing his exasperation at the current situation, Kreeger said that it is up to the UK’s Border Force, the nation’s immigration body, to put things right.
The outlet reports that, according to the carrier, target times for processing for those arriving from the UK and China were met only once last month. The current waiting time target is 45 minutes.
Virgin also noted that the longest delay of 156 minutes occurred on July 6.
“We all agree that security and safety at our airports is vital and remains our top priority, but other countries are managing their borders more effectively. At a time when the UK needs to show the world it is open for business, the government and Border Force need to provide a great first impression, for every visitor, every time,” Kreeger added.
A spokesperson for the Home Office, which is responsible for the Border Force, was quoted as saying, “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,” they added.