Efforts to check Covid border papers could buckle under the weight of additional demand if international travel does resume next month, it has been warned.
Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday (20 April), Immigration Service Union (ISU) professional officer Lucy Moreton said there needed to be a solution to the lengthy checks currently being carried out at the UK border, and stated she was unsure whether something would be done by 17 May.
Asked whether she had concerns the additional checks could overwhelm airlines and ISU members, Moreton said: "Absolutely. You can get an entire aircraft that has failed to do one of the four bits of paper they have to."
Moreton referenced the recently reported six-hour queues at Heathrow airport, which became the subject of debate at a government transport committee hearing last week.
"What’s causing the hold-ups is the requirement we check 100% of arrivals," said Moreton. "I’m not saying Border Force staff shouldn’t do that, but airlines could help by ensuring when people check in they’ve got all the documentation.
"It already takes nearly twice as long to check someone’s details at the moment, to check they have all the coronavirus compliance stuff. If they haven’t got it to hand, or if they haven’t complied or got part of it, that delay time shoots up – it can shoot up to as much as an hour.
"We need all the help we can get to ensure the people who present themselves to the UK border have done everything they need to do and have got those papers ready for us to see."