§ Ms. Gordon
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about preliminary passport checks conducted on the tarmac as passengers step off the plane at Heathrow airport;(a) how long this system has been in operation and (b) how extensive it is; and to what extent he proposes to institute the scheme at other airports.
§ Mr. Charles Wardle
Heathrow and Gatwick airport immigration officers attend some arriving aircraft to check for any passengers who may seek entry without proper730W documents. This is to ensure that the flight on which such a passenger arrives is identified and that any charge which may arise under the Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act 1987 is correctly attributed. Such checks are conducted only infrequently at other airports. They have been conducted for this purpose since 1987, although it has long been the practice for immigration officers to observe the arrival of selected flights.