Britain’s five busiest airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester and Luton – are expecting to operate 124 flights to amber list countries today alone, including 23 to Spain.
But the Border Force warned passengers arriving in the UK should be prepared for longer waits than before the pandemic due to the extra checks required.
Director-general Paul Lincoln said it could take up to 15 times longer to process people than in pre-pandemic times.
But a spokesperson for Heathrow insisted that such delays were ‘unnecessary and completely avoidable’ if extra resources were put in place to deal with the additional checks.
They also confirmed there were ‘protocols in place’ to divert flights or to hold passengers on planes if the build-up becomes too great.
‘Instead of telling passengers to brace themselves for a long wait in immigration queues, Border Force should step up its efforts to automate checks for green list countries, and put in place additional resource for passengers where manual checks might be needed,’ the spokesperson said.
‘Accepting delays is a further demonstration of complacency from them on the matter.
‘There are protocols in place to hold passengers on planes or divert them to other airports, to prevent excessive, unnecessary and completely avoidable queues in immigration halls.’
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