Officials said holidaymakers will face even longer waits than currently once the borders reopen for non-essential travel. Quarantine inspections are also set to get tougher as the Home Office hired a private firm to check in with travellers returning from abroad.
The number of daily home visits will go from 1,000 up to 10,000 in a move said to be worth up to £90 million.
Chris Garton, chief solutions officer, told the Times that current waiting times for border checks were “well in excess of two hours and up to six”.
He warned delays would potentially increase once international tourism is allowed again under Government guidelines.
Mr Garton told the Commons transport select committee the long queues at airports had frustrated people to the point that fights had broken out and police had been alerted.
He explained that the extensive checks were delaying the service, which is already strained due to a lack of staff.
The officer added: “What’s happened is a whole host of new checks – 100 percent checking of everybody – has been introduced, and that obviously has put a tremendous burden on the officers who work at the border.”
As well as passport checks, people entering the UK from abroad must now show proof of a negative coronavirus test result and a completed passenger locator form.