BA chief criticizes border control delays at Heathrow
In a letter today to the Times of London, CEO Alex Cruz says two-hour immigration lines are the norm now for many non-European travelers at Heathrow.
The head of British Airways is urging the British government to tackle the long delays faced by non-European passengers at Europe's busiest airport — London's Heathrow — or risk discouraging them from coming to its shores.
His letter was prompted by reports that the British government is considering putting in special fast-track lanes for UK passport holders only. Cruz says doing this without solving other delays sends a poor message for a country trying to prove it was open for business as it prepares to leave the 28-nation European Union next year.
"What kind of message does this send, as we try to build links outside the EU?" he wrote.
Last month, some passengers at Heathrow's Terminal 4 were forced to wait three hours before being processed at immigration because of what Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said was a "lack of staffing" during England's second-round World Cup soccer game against Colombia.
Up to 40 million people arrive at Heathrow each year. Between January and June 2018, the Home Office says more than 95 percent of all passengers arriving at Heathrow seeking entry to the U.K. have been handled within their target times.
Those times are 25 minutes for passengers from EU countries and a few other European nations and 45 minutes for anyone else.
But according to Cruz, last year Heathrow missed its target for the second group more than 8,000 times and this year it has already missed it more than 6,000 times.
"We understand the frustration for those who have experienced long waits and remain fully committed to working with our partners to reduce waiting times as far as is possible," it said in a statement. "At the same time, we will not compromise the essential checks we carry out at the border, which keep our country safe."
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)