Heathrow boss calls to open eGates to non-EU passengers

26/07/18

Heathrow’s chief executive has said US visitors should be able to use e-gates reserved for UK and EU passengers as immigration queues for non-European passengers reach ‘completely unacceptable levels’.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s chief executive, said queues were increasing and has called on the Home Office to do something to sort out the issue.

He told The Guardian: ‘There’s no reason we should treat a passenger from the US any differently from one from Lithuania. We have 60 e-gates at Heathrow and you’ll never see them all in use.

‘Sajid Javid [the home secretary] could tackle this at the stroke of a pen.’

To support his case Mr Holland-Kaye cited a recent queue of three hours for non-EU passengers at the airport’s terminal 4.

He also said Brexit could be a good opportunity to open up the e-gates and welcome other countries such as Australia to use them.

He added: ‘What better way on 30 March to show the world has changed than have Americans, Canadians and Australians use the e-gates? You know who is coming to your country, why do we need to treat everyone like a criminal when they get to the border?’

Currently at Heathrow there are two queues for passport control, one for EU nationals, European Economic Area, British and Swiss Nationals and a second for all other nationalities.

The automated e-passport gates at Heathrow offer an alternative to passport checks at the desk and but can only be used by if you have an e-passport issued by a country from the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

Today Heathrow announced a record 31.8 million passengers travelling through the airport, a 2.5 per cent increase on last year, for the first six months of the year, ending on June 30.

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