Air passengers face airport delays for months

by Alister POOLE on April 9, 2012

Holidaymakers face months of delays returning to the UK due to both tighter checks and an immigration officer shortage, it hasĀ  emerged.

Although it isn’t uncommon for EU fliers to spend over an hour to get past checkpoints manned by UK Border Agency staff, their plight will worsen once the summer starts unfolding. The Immigration Service Union has predicted that delays might hit three to four hours during busy times, especially for any tourists without EU passports.

Earlier on in April, the Daily Telegraph ran an article that disclosed how airports and airlines are facing chaos due to staff shortages at the UK Border Agency. The Immigration Service Union has warned that the chaos might begin over the summer, which is mainly because of the UK Border Agency’s fixed rostering system taking no account of passenger flows. Additionally, the Home Office has planned to slash the size of its workforce once stricter controls are to be used.

The time it takes to process passengers has been lengthened already by an introduction of new scanning machines by Labour’s last ruling Government. It is estimated that around 10 seconds has been added to the time required to screen every arrival.

Some debate surrounds when the worst delays are to take place, with the the Immigration Service Union believing that they will begin when the summer hits its peak. Lucy Moreton, a union representative, told a newspaper that waits are only to get worse once the airports become busier.

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