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Branson calls for action on 'embarrassing' UK airports

Sir Richard Branson says the queues at UK airports are "embarrassing" Photo: PA

With the Olympics only weeks away, attention turns again to whether our airports will be able to cope. That's not just because of the sheer number of people expected to arrive in this country, but because of the queues there have been at Border Control which have caused the Government such angst.

Sir Richard Branson has just told me that the queues have been "embarrassing," and the problem has to be dealt with. And he told me that Virgin Atlantic has been talking to the Government about other possible solutions - putting border officials onto planes for example so people can be processed before they actually arrive in the country. Or even putting British officials into other countries.

Passengers queue at Border Control in Terminal Five of London's Heathrow Airpor Credit: PA

And he said the Government 'urgently' needs to look at another runway at Heathrow. No doubt he said the lack of expansion of airports is 'holding the country back'. With the Government's aviation policy delayed again until the summer, airport expansion is not going to happen any time soon.

Launching a new water purifying product, Virgin Pure, he told me he still backs the Government's overall strategy but would welcome more spending on infrastructure. Pointing to the example of Virgin Trains in the last decade, he said they had been able to expand because the company and the government had invested, not just the firm on its own.