Heathrow queues give 'terrible impression'

2012-04-30 15:02
London - London Mayor Boris Johnson said on Monday the lengthy queues at London Heathrow were giving a "terrible impression" of Britain as a spat between the airport's owner and border officials deepened.

Passport control queues of up to two hours were reported last week at the world's busiest international passenger airport, which will be the main gateway for the 2012 London Olympics that get under way on 27 July.

Johnson wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May to voice his "serious concern" about the difficulties at Heathrow, where Border Force officials and the air hub's owner and operator BAA have rowed over the passport queue problems.

The mayor said the delays gave "a terrible impression of the UK" and it was unfortunate that Britain's main port of entry was "gaining such a poor reputation".

The mayor, who is standing for re-election on Thursday, said he was looking forward to "hearing what measures the Home Office and the UK Border Agency plan to take in order to rectify the situation both for the Games and for usual passenger numbers".

Meanwhile The Daily Telegraph newspaper, citing e-mails, reported that the Border Force tried to stop BAA distributing leaflets at Heathrow telling passengers they "deserved a warmer welcome" and informing them how to complain to the Home Office.

Passengers waited for up to an hour at the airport on Friday to go through border control, while there were two-hour queues on Thursday for passport holders from outside the 30-country European Economic Area.

Read more on:    air travel

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