LONDON, Aug. 6 — Britain’s biggest airport, London Heathrow, welcomed Saturday a decision by the government to scrap landing cards for international passengers arriving by air in Britain.
The interior ministry, the Home Office, said the move will ease travel for the more than 16 million non-Europeans flying into Britain each year.
When it is introduced in the fall, passengers will no longer need to fill out the paper cards while on board the flight or in queues at airports and ports.
Non-European travellers have been required to fill out landing cards with basic information about themselves and their travel since 1971.
Under proposals published Saturday, the outdated paper-based system, which costs the public nearly USD5 million each year, will be replaced as part of an ongoing digital transformation of border control system by Border Control.
The Home Office said the withdrawal of landing cards will not result in the loss of any data used for security checks.
Border Force has increased its use of Advance Passenger Information, with systems in place to receive data on 100 percent of scheduled flights for all international journeys to and from Britain.
All passengers arriving from outside the EU will also continue to be checked against the variety of police, security and immigration watch lists which are used to verify the identity and confirm the status of every passenger arriving at British airports.
Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We are modernising border technology to ensure Border Force staff stop dealing with outdated paperwork and can continue to focus on security and protecting the public.”
London Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “We warmly welcome this proposed change which would give visitors to Britain an improved experience, whilst maintaining a secure border into the UK.
“In post-Brexit Britain, it will be even more important to show we are open for business and make sure that we give investors, tourists and students a great welcome to our country.”