Heathrow airport has criticised Border Force when passengers faced “unacceptable queuing times”.
Images on social media showed packed queues at the west London airport on Friday night, with travellers querulous of waits of many hours.
A Heathrow voice apologised for the delays, however blasted Border Force for not providing enough employees at immigration.
The Home workplace, that has responsibility for Border Force, aforesaid the wait times were “unacceptable”.
One Twitter user said: “There are individuals collapsing in Terminal five Arrivals because of overcrowding and no ventilation. Some Covid secure measures…”
Another said: “Horrendous kettling at Heathrow Terminal five arrivals tonight. No Border Force. No ventilation. No hearth exits. No clarification. command there for over associate hour. folks fainting. afraid skeleton Heathrow ground team not knowing what to do.”
On Saturday morning, Heathrow Airport tweeted that it was unable to mention how long travellers would need to queue for immigration.
In a subsequent statement, the landing field aforesaid it had “escalated” the problem with Border Force and expected it to produce a far better service over the weekend.
A Heathrow representative said: “We are terribly sorry that passengers round-faced unacceptable queuing times in immigration because of too few Border Force officers on duty.
“Border Force were attentive to the additional demand from families and that we are terribly foiled that they didn’t offer comfortable resource.
“We have extra Heathrow colleagues to support in managing queues and handy out rider welfare as well as water, however we want each immigration table to be staffed at peak times.
“We have escalated this with Border Force and expect them to produce a far better service over the rest of the weekend.”
The Home workplace aforesaid it absolutely was the busiest weekend of the year for returning passengers, with notably high numbers of families with youngsters underneath the age of twelve who cannot use e-gates.
E-gates permit travellers with biometric passports to bypass manual inspections after they cross border management.
A home office voice said: “Throughout the pandemic we’ve got been clear that queue times is also longer as we have a tendency to guarantee all passengers are compliant with the health measures place in situ to stay the united kingdom public safe. However, the terribly long wait times we have a tendency to saw at Heathrow last night square measure unacceptable…
“Border Force is speedily reviewing its rosters and capability and flexibly deploying our employees across the landing field to boost waiting times.”
The Home workplace additional that Border Force was operating closely with Heathrow landing field and its airlines and was committed to making sure passengers had “a safe and hassle-free journey”.
The ISU union, that represents borders, immigration and customs employees, aforesaid Border Force had been “chronically under-funded for years” at major airports, with new recruits directed to inland and international trade to deal with problems arising from Brexit.
Speaking concerning the scenes on Friday, an ISU spokeswoman said: “It can happen once more. Not simply at Terminal five however potentially at any giant airport. “