London airport gets immigration staff surge for Olympics

LONDON - Britain’s Border Force said Thursday it was bringing in an extra 480 people at London Heathrow Airport to help cope with the Olympics, following a row about lengthy immigration queues.

The delays at the air hub, the world’s busiest in terms of international passenger traffic and the main gateway for the Olympics which open on July 27, are proving a major embarrassment for the British government.

Immigration minister Damian Green confirmed Monday that some passengers from outside Europe were forced to wait up to 90 minutes to get through passport control at Heathrow’s flagship Terminal 5.

“We know, at times, queues have been too long,” a Border Force spokesman said.

“That is why we have announced an extra 80 staff for peak times at Heathrow. And it’s why we’ve also engaged an extra 480 people to cover the Olympic period.

“In the longer term, our management and rostering changes will address the issue of queues.”

Terminal 5 is by far the busiest terminal at Heathrow. Last year it handled more than 26 million passengers on more than 184,000 flights.

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