Passengers facing four-hour security queues at some European airports – The Guardian

Thousands of flights are being delayed due to understaffed border controls in some of the most popular destinations for British holidaymakers, Europe’s largest airline association has warned.

Passengers have faced queues of up to four hours as they arrive or attempt to leave places including Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Lisbon, Lyon, Paris-Orly, Milan or Brussels, Airlines for Europe (A4E) has said.

The organisation – which represents airlines including easyJet, British Airways and Ryanair – blamed the delays this summer on understaffing amid tightened checks brought in under European regulations after the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks.

Thomas Reynaert, managing director of A4E, said: “Member states need to take all necessary measures now to prevent such disruptions and deploy appropriate staff and resources in sufficient numbers to carry out the requested checks.

“A4E has stressed the disproportionate waiting times and disrupted flow of traffic at external borders with the European commission and calls for a swift solution on behalf of European passengers and airlines.

“Especially during the peak season of the year, travellers face long lines and can’t get on their flights. Queueing for up to four hours has been the top record these days; airports like Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Lisbon, Lyon, Paris-Orly, Milan or Brussels are producing shameful pictures of devastated passengers in front of immigration booths, in lines stretching hundreds of metres.

“At some airports, flight delays have increased by 300% compared to last year – member states must take the responsibility for this.”

Border staff must now check passenger details against databases – such as the Schengen information system and Interpol’s record of stolen and lost travel documents – as they arrive and leave the affected countries.

Passengers aired their grievances over passport control queues on Twitter from destinations across Europe.

From Amsterdam Schiphol:

Ellen Mellen☺
(@MrsElleywelley)

@Schiphol is this the norm at your international airport?? Random blocks halfway to the baggage hall? #useless #letusthrough pic.twitter.com/L2sdSoqc2Y


July 12, 2017

Lyon:

Andy Bryant
(@andybryant)

Huge slow snaking queues to get thru passport control before flying from @lyonaeroports. Never seen it this bad. Leave min 2 hours.


July 22, 2017

ITV news journalist and presenter Alastair Stewart reported queues in Toulouse:

Alastair Stewart
(@alstewitn)

Toulouse airport: definitely not ‘Jeux sans frontieres’ – more ‘Frontieres sans jeux’… bonkers queues at passport control…


July 23, 2017

Geneva:

Oliver Webb
(@Olliewebb74)

@GeneveAeroport Regular GVA commuter and the queues at passport control are ridiculous. If security is such an issue, you need more staff.


July 31, 2017

A record 2.4 million UK holidaymakers left for their vacations in the first weekend of the summer alone, according to the travel trade association Abta, while air traffic controllers are expecting a record 770,000 flights in UK airspace over the summer, 40,000 more than last year.

A spokeswoman for Abta said: “New, stricter passport checks are resulting in longer queues at some airports, including Palma, which is already busy due to a significant increase in passenger numbers.

“Tour operators will ensure that customers get to the airport in plenty of time so that they are not in danger of missing their flights.

“However, independent travellers will need to check the situation with their airlines and, where necessary, ensure they factor these longer queuing times into their travel plans when flying in and out of the airport.

“It is also extremely important that border control check points are sufficiently resourced so that queuing times are kept to a minimum.”

Passengers facing four-hour security queues at some European airports – The Guardian