Travel

Gatwick Airport boss calls for double jabbed to be spared tests as travellers face huge queues

The covid-19 pandemic has continued to show signs of gradual improvement across the UK as the number of daily cases fall. This has led to more opportunities for global travel.

However, strict quarantine and travel list rules still remain in place as vaccines continue to be rolled out.

This has resulted in passengers having to face huge queues at the country’s major air hubs airport, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Manchester. Airport bosses have called for the end of Covid testing for double jabbed travellers, reports The Mirror.

READ MORE: Heathrow and Gatwick: All the countries on the green watchlist and when the next travel review is

Heathrow and Gatwick are amongst the airports which have seen weary holidaymakers stranded in long queues for hours.

The extent of these queues have been reposted on social media by holidaymakers. The images reveal the horrific queues to get through Heathrow Airport as people vented their frustration.

Airport bosses want a relaxation of the Covid testing entry requirements to combat the queues.

Passengers stuck in the ‘total chaos’ of the queues at Heathrow, Luton and Manchester said they had ‘never seen anything like it.’



The Home Office said it was ‘unacceptable’

In a statement, Gatwick Airport chiefs said they were calling on the government to ‘throw a lifeline’ to the UK aviation industry by removing the testing requirement for double jabbed travellers.

Quarantine should remain for those flying in to the country from red list zones, they said.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said: “With vaccination rates across Europe comparable, if not better, than the UK’s, the time has come for testing to be removed altogether for travellers who have been double jabbed.

“Other countries have done this and their aviation sectors are recovering much faster with bookings in Europe recovering twice as fast as in the UK.

“Our continued travel restrictions are out of step with much of Europe and continue to have a real impact on jobs and livelihoods, business and growth opportunities while also keeping friends and family apart.

“Passenger confidence in the UK has been shattered and the UK travel industry urgently needs thrown a lifeline so that we can start to recover properly from the most difficult period in our history.”

Travellers again described ‘total chaos’ at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 while there were ‘massive queues’ at Luton and Manchester.

Speaking to the Mail one woman caught up in the chaos said: “I’ve never seen anything like it. There were massive queues […] arguments breaking out with staff about the number of broken e-gates.

“It seems like the whole terminal is in total chaos.”



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A Home Office spokesperson said: “Throughout the pandemic we have been clear that queue times may be longer as we ensure all passengers are compliant with the health measures put in place to keep the UK public safe. However, the very long wait times we saw at Heathrow last night are unacceptable.

“This is the busiest weekend of the year for returning passengers, with particularly high numbers of families with children under the age of 12 who cannot use e-gates.

“Border Force is rapidly reviewing its rosters and capacity and flexibly deploying our staff across the airport to improve waiting times. We are working very closely with Heathrow Airport and its airlines and we are all committed to making sure all passengers can have a safe and hassle-free journey.”

On Saturday afternoon, a Heathrow spokeswoman said: “We are very sorry that passengers faced unacceptable queueing times in immigration last night due to too few Border Force officers on duty.

“Border Force were aware of the extra demand from families and we were very disappointed that they did not provide sufficient resource.

“Additional Heathrow colleagues supported in managing queues and handed out passenger welfare including water, but we need every immigration desk to be staffed at peak times.”




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