HL Deb 05 December 1985 vol 468 cc1406-7

3.16 p.m.

The Earl of Kinnoull

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will increase the number of immigration officers at Gatwick Airport next year to handle the expected expansion of traffic and to reduce the delays that occurred last summer.

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, a review of the Immigration Service staffing at Gatwick has recently been completed, and staffing levels for next summer will be decided when the recommendations of the report have been considered. Although there were some delays at peak times last summer, the clearance times through the immigration control were at most periods satisfactory.

The Earl of Kinnoull

My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for that helpful reply, and being the first to congratulate him on his maiden reply from the Dispatch Box, may I ask him whether he has figures on the waiting times, including the peak periods, and whether the review that is being undertaken includes consultations with both airlines and the British Airports Authority?

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, I am most grateful to my noble friend for his kind remarks. It is not my maiden appearance at the Dispatch Box. I have managed to adjourn the House three times—successfully.

On the first part of his question, the British Airports Authority survey showed the following average waiting times at the immigration control area from June until August 1985: British and EEC nationals, one minute; other passengers, 13 minutes. Ninety-five per cent. of all passengers were cleared within 30 minutes of arrival at immigration control.

So far as the second part of my noble friend's question is concerned, the British Airports Authority is quite satisfied with the situation as it is; and the airlines and the British Airports Authority will be considering the review in due course.