Heathrow plans to reopen Terminal 4 for arriving passengers from red list countries “as soon as operationally possible”.
The hub airport, which has faced criticism for passengers from red list countries having to queue alongside other travellers, said it would initially open a dedicated arrivals facility in Terminal 3 for red list passengers from 1 June before moving it to Terminal 4.
“We will move this facility to Terminal 4 as soon as operationally possible,” said a Heathrow spokesperson.
“While opening this facility will be logistically very challenging, our hope is that it will enable Border Force to carry out its duties more efficiently as passenger volumes increase in line with the green list
“Until then, the current red list system will remain in place.
“This system has been designed by the government and has several layers of protection to keep passengers and colleagues safe – including mandatory negative Covid tests for all international arrivals, mandatory use of face coverings, social distancing, segregation and enhanced cleaning regimes and ventilation in immigration halls.”
Heathrow shuttered Terminal 4 in May 2020 during the first Covid-19 lockdown and announced in December that it planned to keep the terminal closed until the end of 2021 due to the continued reduction in flights.
The idea of reopening a closed terminal at Heathrow for red list passengers was mentioned by transport secretary Grant Shapps during media appearances on Thursday (20 May).
A spokesperson for Number 10 added: “We’ve asked airports to make sure there are mitigations in place to make sure people can socially distance and, where possible, to allow people from red list countries not to have to intermingle with those who have returned from amber or green list countries.
“But it is a matter for the airports to ensure provisions are in place.”