Edinburgh Airport is to charge arriving passengers around £5 to jump passport queues, The Scotsman has learned.
The planned FastTrack service is aimed at easing congestion, which airport officials feared would reach its worst-ever levels this summer.
The Scottish first is expected to be similar to Edinburgh’s priority security lane for departures, which costs £4.49.
An airport spokesman said “This new service will offer choice to people flying into Edinburgh Airport. We look forward to being able to offer our overseas passengers and returning UK based passengers an even smoother arrival into Scotland.”
The move comes after airport chief executive Gordon Dewar warned the then Home Secretary Theresa May in June that threatened cuts in Border Force staff, who check passports, would attract “much adverse comment and media attention”. This led to Border Force staff being increased, but it is understood the airport is keen to introduce its own measures to help cut queues.
Its passenger total is growing at 10 per cent annually to an expected 12 million this year,
The Scottish Conservatives called for across-the-board improvements for all passengers. Transport spokesman Alex Johnstone said: “Instead of charging travellers to skip the queue at passport control, Edinburgh Airport should be concentrating on improving the system for everyone.
“These fast lanes will just serve to deflect resources away from regular travellers, making the wait even worse for those who don’t want to shell out a ridiculous fee just to get to where they’re travelling to.”
However, Edinburgh North and Leith SNP MP Deidre Brock said: “We absolutely need initiatives like this to keep things moving.”
The Home Office said the service “will allow business travellers and those on tight schedules to make the most of their stay with the shortest possible wait”.