Holidaymakers have been warned to expect very long delays at the border when they arrive back in to the UK due to the extra Covid checks.
The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned that travellers should brace themselves extra queuing at UK airports for additional Covid checks.
Shapps told BBC Breakfast, “Before you board a plane you would need to show you have completed your passenger locator form, that you have carried out a pre-departure test, that you have got your test booked for day two and all of that needs to be checked by the carrier, the airline usually before you travel.
“So the place to expect queues is the airport you are coming from. Once you get back to the UK all of that is starting to be automated.
“People should expect more disruption than usual but I know that everyone is working very hard to minimise those queues.”
A Whitehall source told the Daily Mail that holidaymakers “could easily be looking at queues of six hours to start with,”but is depends on “how much extra traffic there will be as a result of the change.”
Spokeswoman Lucy Moreton of the Immigration Services Union who represent border staff warned of the extreme delays whilst electronic gates are being adapted.
She warned that “not all of them are available and not everywhere.”
Moreton warned that peak queues are currently up to two hours, which could increase to six hours with the Covid inspections.
These inspections must be carried out by UK border staff regardless of airline checks, which is taking around three times longer.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and warned of even more staff shortages before the new self-isolation rules change for those who are fully vaccinated and have been in contact with an infected person.
Moreton added, “There still will be queues associated with EU exit, with staff perhaps not being as available particularly if self-isolation figures surge in the way people are suggesting they might do before August 19.
“But whilst we retain the requirement to check four pieces of documentation for every arriving passenger, the e-gate cannot check the pre-departure test certificate because they’re not uniform, and they can’t at the moment check any vaccination status, if that becomes relevant – so whilst that remains the political imperative these queues are going to happen.”