Holidaymakers facing long delays
New security checks at many EU airports have led to UK travellers facing long waits and some have even missed their flights.
The checks affect people entering and leaving the Schengen area, which allows passport free movement through much of the EU.
The new rules were introduced in April following the terror attacks in Brussels and Paris and aim to stop potential terrorists moving freely. The details of people from non-Schengen countries, such as the UK, will be run through databases to see if they pose a threat.
It means that rather than being waved through by security staff and doing quick checks, travellers from affected countries will now have to have their passport checked and scanned doubling the time it takes to pass through the borders causing long delays.
The Government have been urged to pressure EU countries to ensure they have adequate staff at their airports to minimize delays as some passengers have been forced to queue for four hours.
Airlines UK, an industry body representing UK-registered carriers, said it had warned the Government about the new checks in May.
Tim Alderslade, the body’s chief executive, said: “It is now up to the UK Government to work with industry to use whatever influence it can within the EU to persuade Schengen member states to resource their border operations properly.”
Airlines For Europe, a group which represents carriers including easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways’ owner IAG, said that compared to last year some delays had increased by 300 per cent and that some passengers had missed flights.
Managing director Thomas Reynaert said: “Travellers face long lines and can’t get on their flights. Queuing 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.”
A spokeswoman for travel trade organisation ABTA said: “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.”