The End of the Common Travel Area?

I’m back in Cardiff for a couple of days after flying from Dublin this morning.

When my flight arrived at Cardiff Airport there was yet again a full passport and immigration check on all passengers.

There is supposed to be a Common Travel Area including the UK and Ireland (as well as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man), and passport checks are not supposed to be made routinely at borders within the CTA.

I have noticed passport checks happening at Cardiff Airport before (e.g. here and here) but I’ve previously imagined there was some specific reason for them. Passport checks have, however, been carried out every time I have arrived in Cardiff recently and it is now abundantly clear that there has been a material change of policy.

When I got to the desk and handed over my passport I asked the Officer whether these checks were being imposed all the time now. She said yes: there are now full passport and immigration checks on all flights to Cardiff from Dublin.

This is from the UK Government’s website:

Well, if they check all passengers on all flights then that sounds like ‘routine’ to me. In other words the British authorities are violating the Common Travel Area agreement just weeks after undertaking to uphold it.

Did someone say ‘Perfidious Albion’?

3 Responses to “The End of the Common Travel Area?”

  1. Rob Ivison Says:

    Coming into Edinburgh from Dublin last Thursday, after ESO Council, my passport was not checked. Wonder why Cardiff is doing things differently? Not a devolved matter.

  2. jonivar skullerud Says:

    This is unlike the irish authorities, who have always and remain in contempt of this part of the CTA. You cannot have failed to note that you always have to go through passport control on arriving at Dublin airport from the UK. The fact that people flying from Donegal to Dublin also have to go through immigration suggests, though, that it is a matter of not being arsed rather than any direct malice.

    • telescoper Says:

      That’s a fair point. Neither of the Terminals at Dublin Airport has a dedicated area for arrivals from within the CTA (or the EU for that matter). It seems to me that is just a matter of the design of the airport arrival areas. In any case it has never taken me more than a few minutes to get through the passport control area at Dublin Airport.

      Cardiff Airport does have a CTA area, however, and has recently decided to change policy and impose passport controls within it. The practical issue here is that the CTA arrivals area is very small and the introduction of passport controls means that a lengthy queue develops, stretching outside the terminal building.

      In April I flew to Heathrow and passed through the terminal to the underground without a passport check. It will be interesting to see if that has changed too.

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