Holidaymakers face two hour delays getting back into Britain through Heathrow

by Alister POOLE on April 5, 2012

Holidaymakers returning to the UK face minimum delays of two hours getting into the country, due to an immigration officer shortage over the Easter weekend.

Although UK airports want to have the ability to restrict the delays of those wishing to enter Britain, danger looms over outbound passengers being hit hard should the problems end up becoming worse than was currently predicted. Within hours of the airlines operative at Heathrow telling the government’s Home Secretary of how airports had been put in danger of gridlock, British unions insisted that staff cuts and much tighter border controls are to lead to several hours’ worth of frustration for passengers.

The biggest test of the weekend is sure to come on Easter Sunday, which is when a record amount  of arrivals – over 123,000 – will apparently turn up at Heathrow. Should the UK Border Agency be overwhelmed, passengers will be kept aboard planes until the immigration halls in Heathrow are capable of handling them. In turn, this would then cause delays to outbound flights as aircraft won’t have been both cleaned and restocked in enough time to match their scheduled departure.

According to British civil service unions, UKBA has been made to hire ex-immigration officers so that part of the gap can be filled. Thus far, this has been thoroughly denied by officials representing the Home Office.

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