5 NOVEMBER 2018
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One aspect of the Budget to win a better reaction than the APD saga (see this issue) was chancellor Philip Hammond’s announcement that more e-passport gates would be provided at airports.
From next summer, the gates in the UK will be open to citizens from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan with the aim of reducing the much-criticised queues and waiting times at the UK border.
The industry gave the plan cautious approval, with International Airlines Group tempering its outright condemnation of the APD move by saying it welcomed the e-gates development.
However, it warned the decision had to be backed by technological improvement: “this will only be effective in reducing queues if all e-gates are opened to accommodate the volume of passengers”, the group added.
Virgin Atlantic said the announcement that citizens from the UK’s “most trusted security partners”, including the US and Australia, would be able to use e-gates was “an important first step in reducing waiting times”.
It added: “With Christmas just around the corner, and another busy summer expected next year, the government must act quickly to minimise disruption to those visiting the UK to ensure they receive the welcome they deserve.”
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