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Passengers arrive at Heathrow as airports expect busiest day of year

People are finally allowed to go abroad after the foreign travel ban for non-essential reasons has been lifted from today

UK airports are bracing for the busiest day of the year so far as coronavirus restrictions on foreign travel restrictions are finally eased in England.

Many eager passengers were seen arriving at Heathrow Airport in west London from 6am this morning as the Government’s ‘traffic light system’ based on risk of catching the virus comes into force.

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.

w8media NO CREDIT The first passengers at heathrow airport terminal 5 departures taking advantage of the easing of covid-19 travel restrictions

Many eager passengers were seen arriving at Heathrow Airport in west London from 6am this morning
More than 100 flights are operating to amber list countries alone from Britain’s five busiest airports
The Government’s ‘traffic light system’ based on risk of catching the virus comes into force from today

‘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.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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