Heathrow Airport has apologised to travellers over the weekend as the first big getaway since lockdown restrictions were lifted turned into chaos for passengers.
Shortages of immigration staff, a breakdown in the electronic gates and no underground trains due to engineering works made catching a flight a nightmare, exasperated holidaymakers said.
According to the Mail, there was just one passport official at the arrivals desk.
John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s chief executive, said the airport had been “caught out by a combination of Border Force officers being pinged and some of the e-gates not working”.
“Most people going through the border at Heathrow are having a very good experience, they’re getting through in a few minutes.
“I’d just apologise to those passengers who were caught up on Saturday.”
Holland-Kaye also called for a further lifting of UK restrictions after its latest results showed losses during the pandemic had risen to US$4bn.
Fewer than 4mln passengers passed through its gates during the first half of 2021, a number it would have seen in 18 days in 2019.
The airport said it expects around 21.5mln passengers this year as routes reopen and more flights are put on by the airlines to more destinations.
One boost might come as early as today with reports that France is set to move back to the amber list (from amber plus) category meaning that people with double jabs won’t have to quarantine on return to the UK.
For the six months to June 30, Heathrow recorded an underlying loss of GBP787mln against GBP471mln a year ago.