Initiative to reduce waiting times at passport queues
A joint plan to reduce waiting times at Heathrow’s border controls to a maximum of fifteen minutes for UK passengers was announced today by the Home Secretary and British Airports Authority (BAA).
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and Mike Brown, Chief Operating Officer at Heathrow Airport, assured to work together to reduce the maximum waiting times for UK and EU passengers entering the UK from 25 to 15 minutes and from 45 to 30 minutes for those from outside the EU.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said:
"A strong border is essential for the security of the UK. It is crucial that those with no right to be in this country are barred from entry.
"Today’s agreement will combine these tough checks with our vow to make the process as quick as possible for legitimate travellers."
Mike Brown, Chief Operating Officer at Heathrow Airport said:
"We welcome any moves to drive down queues and improve the passenger experience at Heathrow, and I am very pleased that the Home Secretary and the UK Border Agency have signed up to this positive initiative.
The UK is undergoing the biggest shake-up in its borders for nearly 45 years.
So far the £1.2 billion eBorders system has screened 50 million passengers travelling to Britain, leading to more than 2,000 arrests, including murderers, drug dealers and sex offenders.
These checks make up just one part of Britain’s triple ring of security, alongside fingerprint visas for three-quarters of the world’s population, and the roll out of ID cards for foreign nationals locking people to one identity.