Following chaos at Palma airport earlier in the week, police are warning travellers to prepare for even more delays at border control this weekend.
From today, 622,000 passengers are expected to pass through one of Spain’s busiest airports.
And with a lack of staff at passport control booths, the Professional Police Union (SPP) are warning that matters could get worse over the next 48 hours.
Airport chaos in Palma, Majorca, is expected to continue throughout the weekend, warns the Spanish Professional Police Union (SPP)
Long queues are causing flight delays and uncomfortable waiting conditions. Understandably, passengers are taking to social media to air their grievances
In the last few days, furious Brits have taken to Twitter to vent their frustrations, with some declaring the situation ‘hell’ and describing ‘screaming’ travellers.
The SPP has blamed the over-burdened passport control situation on airlines and tour operators, asking the Spanish Airport Authority (AENA) to more ‘rationally’ stagger flight times.
Currently, most flights scheduled to Britain leave in the early morning hours and later in the evening.
‘The extremely intense concentration of flights is beneficial to the airlines, the tour operators and AENA in order to generate profits and reduce costs,’ a statement issued by the police union reads.
‘Thousands of British tourists who arrive at the airport are forced through a narrow passage barely three metres wide, properly known as the microwave.’
The arrival and departure bottleneck has been forcing tourists to queue for hours in non-air conditioned areas, leading to missed flights and delays.
From today, 622,000 passengers are expected to pass through one of Spain’s busiest airports
One tourist described the situation on Wednesday, with people angrily yelling at border police
Longer wait times can also be attributed to new stricter European Union border crossing controls for non-European Union and Schengen residents, which were introduced in May
The SPP has blamed the chaotic passport control situation on airlines and tour operators
This is also effecting those waiting in Britain to fly out to Majorca on the return trip.
Longer wait times can, at least in part, also be attributed to new stricter European Union border crossing controls for non-European Union and Schengen residents, including Britons, which were introduced in May.
Flights are also susceptible to delays in the peak summer months when Spanish airspace gets especially busy.
However, Spanish Airport Authority AENA and the Spanish Interior Ministry, announced yesterday that immediate actions are being put into place to tackle the passport control backlog.
Spanish airport authority AENA and the Spanish Interior Ministry, announced yesterday that immediate actions are being put into place to tackle the passport control backlog
With such long passport control wait times, some passengers are missing their flights
Currently, it’s taking, on average, at least 30 minutes to clear passport control at Palma airport, but at peak times, especially in the early morning hours, it can take much longer.
And these disgruntled passengers have not hesitated to take to social media to air their grievances.
In a statement issued Thursday, AENA said that an agreement had been reached with the National Police to work together, reports the Majorca Daily Bulletin.
According to the statement, three steps are being taken to help facilitate a flow of passengers this weekend, beginning with adding ten extra staff to help handle passports.
The airport will also be installing 20 more automatic scanners to deal with the larger volume of travellers, and more physical passport control booths will be added.
In addition to the long queues, other passengers are also noting the lack of working lifts
According to the statement issued by AENA, the airport will add 10 extra staff this weekend to help facilitate the flow of passengers
On Wednesday, July 12, many Brits missed flights home from Palma airport in Majorca due to the ‘chaotic situation’, local media reported.
Palma is Spain’s third busiest airport with 5.3 million Brits passing through last year and record numbers expected this summer.
The airlines, represented by the Association of Airlines and the Association of Spanish Air Transport companies, told interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido: ‘The situation may get worse if measures are not taken, given the number of passengers expected over the coming summer.’
Current passport controls are causing ‘delays and even missed connections, with consequential damage to passengers and airlines, who have been obliged to leave passengers behind on a daily basis so as not to affect their punctuality in too negative a manner,’ the airlines said.
Current passport controls are causing delays and even missed connections at the aiport (pictured), with consequential damage to passengers and airlines
AENA, the Spanish airports authority, recognised that there had been ‘problems in passport control’ over the weekend but said: ‘It’s a delicate question which is complicated to solve.’
An ANEA spokesman told local newspaper Ultima Hora: ‘More reinforcements are needed because without them it will be difficult to solve the problem when there are several flights heading to the United Kingdom and the frontier controls must be carried out.’
British tour operators have blamed the Spanish government for failing to provide sufficient numbers of police at the airport.
Budget carriers EasyJet and Jet2 are among the airlines flying from Palma airport.
The Spanish police union SUP said: ‘We have to make an official complaint because it was previously known that this problem would occur.
‘In order to make the frontier controls work properly we need another 20 police officers.’
Similar problems occurred at the airport over Easter – with queues so bad some passengers fainted in the heat.
Madrid’s representative in the Balearic islands, Maria Salom, said strict new frontier controls have slowed up passport controls.
Some 26m passengers passed through Palma airport last year – making it Spain’s third busiest behind Barajas airport in Madrid and El Prat airport in Barcelona.