Border Force boss saysit failed city travellers

The Director General of Border Force says the organisation failed passengers who returned to Londonderry from Alicante on August 27 only to be told they couldn’t get off the plane because there were no passport control officers in place.

Charles Montgomery has written to Londonderry MP Mark Durkan to say that an immediate review took place in the wake of the incident and the force’s operating procedures have been strengthened as a result.

Mr Durkan said: “I welcome these assurances concerning future passenger experiences – and that action has now been taken to ensure there is no repeat of this situation.

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“It is important that Standard Operating Procedures have been strengthened and that citizens and visitors to our city don’t have that bad experience again.”

Mr Montgomery wrote: “Regrettably, the investigation into the events of August 27, established that there was a breakdown in the Standard Operating Procedures in the deployment of resources to City of Derry Airport and Border force failed to respond to the notification of this scheduled flight.”

He went on: “Belfast International Airport, who service City of Derry Airport, received a telephone call at 9.10am from the General Manager of City of Derry Airport advising a flight from Alicante had arrived, but none of my officers were in attendance.

“City of Derry Airport is a small regional airport with no permanent Border force presence. Two officers were immediately dispatched from Belfast International Airport to City of Derry Airport, approximately 60 miles and 90 minutes away.

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“A further two officers, not on duty but living within 60 minutes of the airport, were contacted and also deployed without delay.”

He wrote that an immediate joint remedial review of processes took place.

“In the longer-term these process will be reviewed to further reinforce them and ensure no repeat of this situation,” he wrote.

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