Airport defends border checks

AIRPORT bosses have stressed that all passengers undergo the appropriate checks required by the UK Border Agency.

That was the message from Durham Tees Valley Airport manager Shaun Woods following media reports suggesting that checks were not carried on private charter flights arriving at some airports.

The airport, used by travellers from Hartlepool and surrounding areas, was thrust into the national spotlight amid reports that people were being allowed to pass through unchecked.

Mr Woods said: “I want people to be absolutely clear that, the decisions on how to implement border controls are a matter for the UK Border Agency with whom we work very closely. I also want people to know that any suggestion passengers or crew could pass through the airport without undergoing the appropriate checks required by the UK Border Agency is plain wrong.

“The Border Agency does have arrangements in place which allow for what are known as General Aviation activities—basically private flights—to seek ‘pre-arrival’ checks for crew and passengers in certain circumstances.

This requires detailed information to be provided well in advance of a flight arriving at the airport, including the name, nationality, date of birth and passport or national identity card details and can only be applied to passengers or crew from the European Union or European Economic Area (EEA).

“Any passengers or crew from countries outside the EU or EEA must undergo standard arrival checks and the Border Agency has the discretion at any time to require any or all passengers and crew to undergo standard checks.

“It should be stressed that these procedures from the UK Border Agency have been in place for some time.”