Edinburgh Airport to charge £5 for passengers to jump passport queues

Passengers will be charged �5 to use a fast-track security service at Edinburgh Airport. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Passengers will be charged �5 to use a fast-track security service at Edinburgh Airport. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Edinburgh Airport is to be the first in Scotland to charge arriving passengers around £5 to jump passport queues.

The planned FastTrack service is aimed at easing congestion, which airport officials feared would reach its worst-ever levels this summer.

The trial is expected to be similar to Edinburgh’s priority security lane for departures, which costs £4.49.

An airport spokesman said “This new service will offer choice to people flying into Edinburgh Airport.

“We look forward to being able to offer our overseas passengers and returning UK-based passengers an even smoother arrival into Scotland.”

The move comes after airport chief executive Gordon Dewar warned the then-Home Secretary Theresa May in June that threatened cuts in Border Force staff, who check passports, would attract “much adverse comment and media attention”.

This was followed by Border Force staff being increased, but it is understood the airport is keen to introduce its own measures to help cut queues.

Its passenger total is growing at 10 per cent annually to an expected 12 million this year.

The Scottish Conservatives called for across-the-board improvements for all passengers.

Transport spokesman Alex Johnstone said: “Instead of charging travellers to skip the queue at passport control, Edinburgh Airport should be concentrating on improving the system for everyone.

“Creating these fast lanes will just serve to deflect resources away from regular travellers, making the wait even worse for those who don’t want to shell out a ridiculous fee just to get to where they’re travelling to.”

However, Edinburgh North and Leith SNP MP Deidre Brock said: “Edinburgh Airport is growing rapidly and we absolutely need initiatives like this to keep things moving.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Border Force is working closely with the airport to introduce the service, which will allow business travellers and those on tight schedules to make the most of their stay with the shortest possible wait”.

Meanwhile, airline Jet2 has announced 80 new jobs at Edinburgh Airport among nearly 1000 across the UK.

They include pilots, cabin crew and engineers as part of the carrier’s latest expansion. Its Edinburgh routes will increase from 25 to 27 next summer. The airline will take delivery of 30 new Boeing 737-800 planes over two years from next month, which will increase its 63-aircraft fleet by nearly half.

Chief executive Steve Heapy said: “We have exciting plans to expand the number of destinations we fly to, as well as the number of UK bases we fly from, and this means that our team is growing all the time.”