Government should use passenger duty income to pay for extra border guards
Revenue raised by the UK government from its tax on each airline ticket sold in this country should be used to pay to recruit more guards for border patrols, a top airline boss has said.
British Airways chairman Willie Walsh said the money raised by the charge – of up to £92 per person depending on the length of the flight undertaken - should be ring-fenced to pay for extra staff to be brought in to ease queues at passport control points.
Mr Walsh, who is also boss of the International Airlines Group which, owns British Airways, dismissed reports that the government was looking to further increase the level of air passenger duty as a "complete red herring" which had been suggested by government to divert attention away from what many see as a growing crisis at the UK Border Agency, which operates the entry points.
And he expressed his anger at Immigration Minister Damian Green's claims that delays faced by passengers at passport control had been exaggerated, saying the border force was providing "unacceptably poor standards" of service.
"We have a crisis, it has been there for some time, and we need urgent action," he said.
Unofficial figures compiled by the operator of Heathrow Airport, the British Airports Authority, have shown that people have been facing waits of up to two and a half hours to pass through the border checks in recent weeks.
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