In light of the increase in the number of international visitors, Virgin Atlantic has called for urgent measures to reduce the immigration wait times. The UK Border Force has a Service Level Agreement to process at least 95% of the non-EEA passengers through immigration within 45 minutes. This target was only met once in the month of July 2018 which has left the visitors hassled.
The current exchange rate is favorable for travel. Also, recent high profile events like the Royal Wedding have led to an increase in the number of visitors in 2018. This has led to excessively long queues and wait times as high as two and a half hours to clear immigration.
Virgin Atlantic has 23 international arrivals per day in London Heathrow airport. The airline has set up a “greet and treat service” which provides passengers with water and snacks. This is an attempt to improve the experience of the visitors.
Craig Keeger, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, opines that the UK needs to show the world it is open for business. It is imperative that the Border Force and the UK Government provide a great impression for every visitor every time. Emphasis on security and safety is vital at the airports; however, the UK should emulate other countries who manage their borders effectively. Border Force needs to take necessary action to resolve the long wait times, as quoted by Airport World Magazine.
According to the UK’s tourist authority – Visit Britain, 76% of the tourists arrive in the UK by air. They account for 87% of the inbound tourist spending.
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