The Immigration Services Union forecasts that passport queues to enter the UK could regularly extend to three or four hours. The Board of Airline Representatives, which represents over 80 airlines, says that the Border Force needs access to improved processes and better use of available information. Reliance on traditional manual systems will simply lead to longer queues and the need to build ever-larger immigration halls.
Mike Carrivick, Chief Executive of BAR UK, said: “The efforts of the Border Force to handle peak periods such as bank holidays and the Olympics are well-recognised but cannot be sustained without necessary changes. The airline community already co-operates by providing advance access to the passport data of approximately 90 million travellers each year, all of whom can be checked against a watch list to identify those who pose a threat or who should not be in the UK.
“Allied to that, airlines would also like to see an increase in the number of smart gates, that permit automated entry through the use of chip-enabled passports, and the re-introduction of smartzones. Collectively, huge improvements can be made to the queues to enter the UK without compromising the Government’s need for full border controls.”