Govt reportedly predicting four-hour wait on return to Heathrow

By Lisa James
02/06/2021
Home » Govt reportedly predicting four-hour wait on return to Heathrow

The Government is reportedly predicting families flying back into the UK will have to wait up to four hours upon returning to Heathrow this summer.

Today’s Politico London Playbook says it has been briefed by a source in an exclusive, which Politico says is the first time the Government has confirmed there could be long waiting times at airports this summer.

Politico’s report says: “Ministers are increasingly worried about summer holidays being thrown into chaos over the next few months by unsustainable waiting times at airports when people arrive back in the UK.

“The Department for Transport has produced analysis predicting that families with young children will have to wait for up to four hours when they land back at Heathrow due to health checks at the border, a DfT source told Playbook last night.

“Industry experts have warned of the potential for long queues at airports this summer, but this is the first time the Government has confirmed it is now expecting serious holiday-ruining waiting times.”

Last week, airlines warned it could take eight hours to process each passenger, while, last month, the head of UK Border Force said checks could take up to 15 times longer.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We have made clear that excessive queuing at Heathrow this summer will not be tolerated and been reassured by Border Force that adequate resource is in place and indeed, is the most since that in place during the 2012 Olympic Games.

“Before queues reach unacceptable levels, actions will be taken to hold passengers on planes or divert aircraft. Ministers have had months to put in place solutions to safely streamline the country’s border processes and the acceptance of this mediocre performance, despite the drop in passenger numbers, is further demonstration of complacency on the matter.

“Government must continue to automate checks for green list countries, and ensure adequate resource is in place at the border.”

The DfT told Travel Gossip the analysis was compiled by Home Office data.

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