Heathrow Warns Staffers Not to ‘Abandon’ Jobs to Watch England’s World Cup Game

Jul 11, 2018

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The FIFA World Cup is inching its way toward the final championship game.

And England’s team, which is in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in 28 years, is seeing a new level of dedication from its fans.

In fact, London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) just sent out a warning to its border officers saying that the desks at airport immigration should not be abandoned during the country’s semifinal match against Croatia on Wednesday.

Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye issued the warning to Head of Border Force Paul Lincoln, saying that a “lack of staffing” at the LHR immigration checkpoint during England’s July 3 nail-biting game against Colombia that ended in penalty kicks resulted in long lines for travelers trying to get through airport customs. The queue got so long that passengers arriving to LHR Terminal 4 had to wait as long as three hours to make it through the checkpoint.

Holland-Kaye noted that there were 28 immigration officers on duty during the England-Colombia game, but just 11 desks at the checkpoint were staffed — about half the typical number.

“Please can I have your written assurance that we will not see a repeat of these events in any terminal on Wednesday evening,” Holland-Kaye asked the border force.

He continued to say that when the hours-long wait set in at immigration during the July 3 World Cup game, it became a “serious health and safety hazard” because it causes arriving passengers to be held on their planes until the lines recede.

The UK’s Home Office also noted that the slow down in passenger processing on July 3 was also partially caused by a problem with the computer system that checks visas.

The winning team in Wednesday’s England-Croatia match will advance to play France in the championship game on Sunday.

H/T: ITV News

Featured image by YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images.

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