BA launches scathing attack over 'dreadful' immigration queues

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British Airways has launched a scathing attack on the Home Office over "dreadful" immigration queues at airports.

UK nationals and visitors are being forced to wait in lines for more than an hour after arriving on some international flights, according to the carrier.

There are "routinely" just a third of the 29 automatic eGates open at Heathrow's Terminal 5, and they shut "prematurely" at 11pm while customers are still making their way off flights, causing "massive queues and frustrating delays", BA said.

In its submission to a Home Office consultation on scrapping the process of passengers filling in landing cards before arriving, the airline warned that the UK must show it is "an easy place to travel to", particularly with the forthcoming withdrawal from the European Union.

BA's director of Heathrow, Raghbir S. Pattar, called on UK Border Force to put more focus into operating in "the most efficient and flexible way" to ensure passengers' needs are prioritised.

He said: "It is a constant frustration to us and to our customers that after a long flight they have to stand in queues, sometimes for over an hour, just to get back into the country.

"And it is a dreadful welcome for visitors to the UK to be faced with a packed immigration hall and the prospect of a frustrating delay to the start of their holiday or business trip.

"It adds insult to injury when you're stuck in a queue but can see numerous gates which just aren't being used.

"We wholeheartedly support the essential role the Border Force has to protect the UK but more must be done to prevent these unnecessary delays."