British Airways boss says two-hour Heathrow passport queues unacceptable

British Airways logos are seen on tail fins at Heathrow Airport in west London, Britain, February 23, 2018. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)
Updated 06 August 2018

British Airways boss says two-hour Heathrow passport queues unacceptable

  • BA boss said that queues at border controls at Heathrow were significantly worse than at other major world airports
  • British Airways is owned by IAG, the airline group which also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling

LONDON: Two hour-long queues for passport checks at London’s Heathrow Airport are unacceptable and improvements are needed if Britain wants to show it is open for business after it leaves the European Union, the chief executive of British Airways said.
In a letter to The Times newspaper on Monday, BA boss Alex Cruz said that queues at border controls at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, were significantly worse than at other major world airports.
“What kind of message does this send, as we try to build links outside the EU?,” Cruz wrote.
He called on interior minister Sajid Javid to take “immediate action to address this border farce.”
His intervention came after reports that Britain was considering setting up designated lanes for British passport holders at UK airports after Britain leaves the EU on March 29 next year.
Two-hour queues have become normal at Heathrow for those visiting Britain from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), Cruz said, despite a target that the waiting time should be no more than 45 minutes. EEA citizens wait almost an hour, he added.
British Airways is owned by IAG, the airline group which also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling.


Google Cloud prepares for Black Friday ‘peak on top of peak’

Updated 04 August 2020

Google Cloud prepares for Black Friday ‘peak on top of peak’

  • Cloud technology, used to host websites and store data, is a key part of many retailers’ e-commerce operations

OAKLAND, California: Alphabet’s Google Cloud unit is poised for a surge in fourth-quarter sales from US retailers, as they brace for record online shopping during the holidays because of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Cloud technology, used to host websites and store data, is a key part of many retailers’ e-commerce operations. As fees are often pegged to site traffic, a jump in activity will drive up revenue for the unit.
Carrie Tharp, vice president of retail and consumer at Google Cloud, said that her team had this year tossed out its linear growth model to predict how many servers it will need to process web orders for retailers around Black Friday.
“We’re planning for peak on top of peak,” she said on Monday. That could be a boon for Google Cloud, which has generated about 30 percent of its revenue during the fourth quarter the last two years.
Stores such as Kohls Corp. and Wayfair Inc. lean on Google months in advance to ensure it has enough servers to withstand increased shopping during holiday discount days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday in November and December.
This year, Black Friday-style demand has flooded shops since March, when the United States began lockdowns, Tharp said.
Holiday shopping is expected to boost demand further, as retailers including Target Corp. and Walmart Inc. have said they will reduce in-store hours because of coronavirus concerns.
Tharp said the pandemic has already benefitted Google Cloud, with some retailers adopting its predictive algorithms years ahead of plan to help them work out the most efficient way of fulfilling orders.
Electronics retailer Best Buy Co., for instance, announced on Tuesday a multi-year deal to centralize customer and product data with Google Cloud to improve its loyalty program and online ad campaigns.
The companies declined to elaborate on the deal, but Tharp said she hopes it leads to Google eventually powering Best Buy’s web ordering system.