Heathrow boss says passport delays are ‘really disappointing’

John Holland-Kaye told the PA news agency it is ‘vital’ that people can go on holiday this summer.

Neil Lancefield
Tuesday 26 April 2022 09:04
Delays in processing passport applications are ‘really disappointing’, the boss of Heathrow Airport said (Steve Parsons/PA)
Delays in processing passport applications are ‘really disappointing’, the boss of Heathrow Airport said (Steve Parsons/PA)

Delays in processing passport applications are “really disappointing”, the boss of Heathrow Airport has said.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye told the PA news agency it is “vital” that people can go on holiday this summer in case the UK reintroduces coronavirus travel restrictions.

It emerged on Monday that the Passport Office is dealing with a backlog in applications.

Mr Holland-Kaye said: “Normally the Passport Office is very slick in processing passports. It’s really disappointing to hear (about delays).

Making the most of the summer is vital

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow Airport

“If it’s not resolved, it is going to mean that people can’t get away.

“After two years of lockdown, we need to make sure people can have a good holiday because many of them have vouchers that they’ve been saving up, they’ve got trips of a lifetime that they’ve put on hold, and we don’t know when things might get closed down again.

“Making the most of the summer is vital.”

The House of Commons heard about one woman who has waited more than five months to receive her daughter’s new passport, with services branded “either really very good or an absolute shambles”.

SNP home affairs spokesman Stuart McDonald asked: “All our constituents are having to cancel holidays, miss funerals, rearrange visits, with even a new 10-week target routinely being failed.

“What will be done to avoid this predictable mess getting worse? And can we be assured that the 10-week target will not be lengthened further as we approach the summer?”

Home Office minister Kevin Foster said: “We don’t have any intention to further extend that standard.

“We are at the moment processing most passports well within it, but we would advise people this is a very, virtually unprecedented surge in demand, and if people are planning to travel this summer we would advise them to get their application in as soon as possible.”

He said the Passport Office dealt with a million applications last month, compared with seven million per year before the pandemic.

Conservative MP Simon Hoare described the backlog as “unprecedented, true, but foreseeable, absolutely”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in