Long waiting times at the Heathrow Airport immigration counters are fast becoming one of the UK’s biggest nightmares, with the 2012 Olympic Games being just around the corner.
While the situation is already spiralling downwards, with travellers reporting more than two hours wait at the immigration counters manned by the UK Border Agency (UKBA), the UK government’s border control agency and a part of the Home Office, things may reach an impasse if the two unions representing immigration workers go on a strike on May 10, following a recent dispute over pension issues.
Anne Godfrey, the chief executive officer of the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC), a professional association for UK-based travel management companies, said in an interview, ‘The current chaos at Heathrow’s border control is affecting all travellers but, as an organisation representing business travellers, we are especially concerned of the effect these delays are having on the sector.
The fast-track facility for business travel passengers – supposedly to speed things up – is a joke and makes absolutely no difference.’
A number of UK MPs have called for an explanation for the queuing problem from immigration minister, Damian Green, at a parliamentary committee meeting scheduled for May 15.
Rob Whiteman, the chief executive officer of the UK Border Agency, will also be required to explain the reasons behind the problem before the parliamentary committee and representatives from BAA Ltd, the owner and operator of London Heathrow Airport and certain representatives of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, at the May 15 meeting.