A union official has given a stark warning that holidaymakers could face ten hour queues at Heathrow Airport once travel resumes on 17 May.
Immigration Services Union office, Lucy Moreton warned that due to the loack of wraparound perspex screens so Border Force will therefore have to open every other desk.
Speaking to the The Mail on Sunday Moreton said, “At most airports, there are wraparound screens and all the booths can be manned.
“But at some locations and Heathrow is one of them, there are only screens to the front and not to the side, so we have to man every other desk.
“It’s open to Heathrow to change that if they want.”
However a Heathrow source told the newspaper this is not ture, and said, “We’ve spoken to Border Force staff, saying, ‘Do you want wraparound Perspex screens around the booths?’ Border Force said, ‘No, it’s not going to make a difference.’ So we’re not holding out for anything.”
The director general of Border Force, Paul Lincoln said there are some delays at immigration desks as they are having to deal with a lot of “non-compliant” passengers.
Lincoln said on Friday at a Downing Street press conference, !There are currently more Border Force officers processing passengers at Heathrow than at any other time since the 2012 Olympics.
“The reason why people talk about this (delays) is because we have had to deal with a lot of non-compliant passengers. That sometimes takes Border Force officers away.”
He added that Border Force officers can take up to ten minutes to do all the required checks for the “most compliant passengers” which amounts up to 15 time longer than before the pandemic.
A spokesman for the Home Office said, “To protect public health, queues and wait times are expected to be longer as it is vital that thorough checks are undertaken at the border to prevent the importation of Covid-19.
“Border Force officers are making use of all desks and Perspex screens are in use so the maximum officers can carry out checks. It is inaccurate to claim otherwise.”