Eurotunnel boss plays down new European entry system delay fears

The head of Eurotunnel has played down fears of long queues of cars at its terminals when a new EU travel system starts in October.

Britons travelling to and from the continent will need to register fingerprints and a photo at the border, which has prompted warnings of delays.

However, Yann Leriche, chief executive of Eurotunnel operator Getlink suggested that Le Shuttle journeys would take five-to-seven minutes longer, but extra lanes and technology meant the process will go smoothly.

French border police will check passports as people leave the UK at the Port of Dover, Eurostar’s St Pancras terminus in London and the Channel Tunnel in Folkestone.

The long-delayed EU Entry/Exit system (EES) will replace manual passport stamping.

Citizens of countries which are outside the bloc, including the UK, will need to register their biometric information.

The equivalent of £70 million is being spent at Eurotunnel’s Folkestone and Calais sites building processing zones, where people will queue in their cars to use automatic machines.

Leriche told the BBC that travellers “will simply [get] out of their car, spend a few minutes on their kiosks, and go back to their car and continue their journey”.

He said it would take “five to seven minutes extra to get through”, but added “as we have extended the number of lanes, there will be no delay on the highway, nothing. It will happen in a very smooth manner”.

The company will recruit 140 new staff to assist passengers.

He was speaking as the BBC had the first look at new machines people will need to use at Folkestone or Calais.

Leriche also suggested that Eurostar was likely to lose its monopoly as the sole high speed passenger service using the Channel Tunnel.

He said: “We are confident that within the next 10 years, there will be a doubling of the direct connection between London and Europe.”

Abta last week published a range of resources for the trade and consumers ahead of the introduction of new entry rules and systems for travel to the EU.

The information covers the EES and European Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias), which will apply to UK residents.

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