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BA chief complains of 'border farce' at Heathrow

British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz has warned that "unacceptable" queues for passengers arriving at London Heathrow airport pose a threat to the UK's post-Brexit aspirations.

In a letter to UK newspaper The Times, Cruz writes that for passengers visiting from outside the European Economic Area, two-hour wait times are "fast becoming the norm" – despite a target to keep them within 45 minutes.

"Even EEA citizens wait almost an hour," adds Cruz. "This is unacceptable."

He goes on to note comments by the UK Border Force's Heathrow director Nick Jariwalla, recently quoted by London's Evening Standard as having argued that breaches of the time limits were inevitable. "To stop it happening, I don't think is a sensible ambition," Jariwalla told the Standard.

Cruz believes that queues at Heathrow are "significantly worse than at many other major world airports", and asks: "What kind of message does this send, as we try to build links outside the EU?"

In reference to a Times report that prime minster Theresa May is considering designated lanes for UK passport holders at the nation's airports, Cruz writes: "Whether this is a good idea for Britain as it enters the post-Brexit era is a matter for government."

But he asserts: "We need more than UK-only lanes to show Britain is open for business, and that includes [home secretary] Sajid Javid taking immediate action to address this border farce once and for all."

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