UK Border Agency does not have the resources to check the passports of everyone coming into Britain, Theresa May has been told by 11 airlines,
including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic warns to the home affairs select committee that long queues at passport control could
leave passengers stranded on planes and put the operation of “entire airports at risk”.
Easter weekend is one of the busiest times of the year for the airports with more than 1.5 million passengers expected to travel overseas. More than
370,000 holidaymakers will leave Heathrow between Good Friday and Easter Monday while Gatwick will handle 200,000. A separate memo sent by the
Virgin Atlantic says: “If arriving passengers are unable to proceed efficiently through the UK border then the entire airport operation will be at
risk. Passengers arriving late from passport control to collect their luggage will cause congestion in the baggage hall, delaying delivery of luggage
from later flights.”If there is no space in the immigration hall for any more arrivals then airlines will be forced to keep passengers aboard the
aircraft, thus jeopardising the operation of subsequent flights.”This in turn will delay departing passengers and cause overcrowding in departure areas
as a result.”The airlines are urging the Government to employ more border control staff or relax tough restrictions on immigration checks introduced
after a scandal at the UK Border Agency last November.