Minister summoned to explain Heathrow chaos: FT

Posted: April 27, 2012 in Aviation & Airports (General News), Heathrow
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

[FT] Damian Green, the immigration minister, has been summoned to explain a crisis  at border control to MPs after a spate of lengthy queues and increased waiting  times spread to Heathrow’s flagship terminal.

BAA “Immigration waiting times during peak periods at Heathrow recently have been unacceptable and we have called on the Home Office to address the problem as a matter of urgency.”

BAA “Immigration waiting times during peak periods at Heathrow recently have been unacceptable and we have called on the Home Office to address the problem as a matter of urgency.”

Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, told the Financial  Times that he had asked Mr Green to appear before the panel of MPs as reports of “chaos” at British airports gathered pace.

The delays are thought to have been caused by staffing cuts at the UK Border  Agency – which kicked in at the beginning of the new financial year – combined  with a Home Office ban on lighter passenger checks after a furore last summer in  which some border  officials relaxed security controls without ministerial permission.

“This is a very, very difficult state of affairs and it needs to be sorted  out quickly,” Mr Vaz said. “Either the [UK Border Force] needs to bring back  risk-based checks or it needs to hire more staff.”

The force is due to lose just under 20 per cent of its personnel by 2015 as  part of the government’s austerity drive.

Mr Green is scheduled to join officials from British Airways, Virgin Atlantic  and the British Airports Authority at a committee hearing in mid-May, where he  will be quizzed on what measures are in place to cut the……

Read the full article at Investors Chronicle….


By Helen Warrell,
Andrew Parker and George Parker
FT.com – 27th April 2012


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