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BA boss criticises two-hour queues at Heathrow airport as 'border farce'

File photo dated 22/07/15 of passengers going through the UK Border at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport. The ID registration system for EU citizens in the UK after Brexit should also be rolled out to British citizens to avoid another Windrush scandal, a think tank has suggested. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday July 30, 2018. Extending the documentation programme for the 3.6 million Europeans living here to everyone else is among a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system recommended in a new report to strengthen the UK border. See PA story POLITICS Windrush. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

By Alexander Britton, Press Association

Passengers at Heathrow Airport are routinely facing two-hour queues at passport control in what the head of British Airways has called a "border farce".

Chief executive Alex Cruz said Heathrow's queues were "significantly worse" than elsewhere in the continent.

He added tackling lengthy queues should be a priority for the Government rather than a reported idea of designated lanes for UK passport holders post-Brexit.

Writing in the Times, Mr Cruz said: "Two-hour queues are fast becoming the norm for those visiting from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), despite a target of no more than a 45-minute wait.

"Even EEA citizens wait almost an hour. This is unacceptable, yet Nick Jariwalla, the head of Border Force at Heathrow, said recently that things were unlikely to change and it was unreasonable for his team to be expected to meet their targets."

Mr Cruz, who succeeded Keith Williams as CEO in April 2016, said the airport has missed its target for non-EEA arrivals more than 6,000 times this year.

He wrote: "Queues are significantly worse than at many other major world airports. What kind of message does this send, as we try to build links outside the EU?"

A number of arriving passengers at Terminal 4 were forced to wait three hours before being processed because of what Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye previously said was a "lack of staffing" during England's second-round game against Colombia on July 3. The Home Office said this was partially because of a computer failure and also officers having to deal with a high number of vulnerable adults and children.

A spokesman said: "The vast majority of people who arrive at Heathrow get through the border within our service standards.

"But we understand the frustration for those who have experienced longer waits and remain fully committed to working with our partners to reduce waiting times as far as is possible. At the same time, we will not compromise the essential checks we carry out at the border which keep our country safe."

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