Long delays at London Heathrow Airport immigration counters are showing little sign of improving, and with the 2012 Olympic Games being just around the corner, difficulties faced by visiting games fans are again surfacing as a potential nightmare.
While the situation has been fluctuating recently, travellers are reporting delays of more than 90 minutes at immigration counters manned by the UK Border Agency (UKBA), the UK government’s border control authority, and a part of the Home Office.
BAA Ltd, the owner and operator of six British airports, including London Heathrow, has said, ‘Immigration is a matter for the Home Office. The Home Office has said that from July 15, all Border Force desks at Heathrow will be open during peak arrival periods.
Immigration waiting times for passengers during peak periods at Heathrow in the last few days have been unacceptably long.’
The UK Border Agency said, ‘We are fully prepared for the busy Olympic period and will be implementing our well rehearsed plans.
This includes staffing all immigration desks at key ports whenever necessary during the peak Olympic and Paralympic arrivals period.’
Commenting on the long queues at Heathrow, Chris Bryant, MP, and shadow immigration minister, for Labour Party, said, ‘The home secretary and the immigration minister assured parliament that the full summer capacity would be in place by now.
Theresa May has had long enough to plan for this summer. As we run up to the Olympics, Britain cannot afford either the queues the Government’s cuts produced this spring, or the lax security checks they ran last summer.’