Airlines warn of Easter gridlock

Eleven airlines, including British Airways and Virgin, have warned the Home Secretary that Britain's airports could end up gridlocked over Easter because the border controls are "dangerously understaffed."

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MP warns 'borders dangerously understaffed'

Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant warns the UK borders are being left "borders dangerously understaffed" Credit: Labour Party

Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant said: "It is time that the Home Secretary came clean about the security at our borders.

"Her cuts to staff have seen passport queues lengthen, not only leading to delays for passengers but also leaving UK Border Force staff with a difficult decision of whether to relax security to alleviate congestion and risk allowing people to enter the UK without being properly checked.

"With a cut of over 5,000 staff promised by the next election, the Home Secretary is leaving our borders dangerously understaffed, just when the UK is expecting record numbers of arrivals for London 2012."

Border Force: Security will not be compromised

A UK Border Agency worker checks a passport Credit: Reuters

A Border Force spokeswoman said: "We will not compromise border security, but we always aim to keep disruption to a minimum by using our staff flexibly to meet demand.

"Carrying out full checks at airports help us stop threats from terrorists, criminals and others who want to harm the UK, and make sure that only those with the right to enter the UK can do so."

Airlines warn of 'gridlock' over Easter

Airlines claim Britain's airports could end up "gridlocked" over Easter because there aren't enough staff. 11 firms, including British Airways and Virgin Airlines, have have written to the Home Secretary warning of disruption to hundreds of thousands of passengers.

The UK Border Agency is under fire for a lack of staff able to carry out full security checks.

370,000 passengers will leave Heathrow airport between Good Friday and Easter Monday; 200,000 will pass through Gatwick Credit: Reuters

Virgin Airlines said: "After years of reducing frontline staff, returning to a 100% check system will mean lengthy queues at UK airports over critical holiday periods... If the Government wishes to continue with this policy, it must put the resource in place to make it possible."

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