By Laura Kemp • 10 December 2021 • 13:55
Spanish tourism leaders furious over "unacceptable scenes" at major airports.
Spanish tourism bosses have called on the government in Spain as huge queues and delays affect holidays, with Brits caught up in the “chaos.”
Spain’s Airlines Association (ALA) has urged the government to act urgently and asked the Ministry of the Interior to hire more border staff at Spanish airports, fearing that Brit holidaymakers will be put off visiting Spain.
The ALA says there has been “chaos” at airports and that thousands of passengers have missed flights due to a huge queue at Madrid airport.
Other airports affected include Alicante, Malaga, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza and Gran Canaria.
ALA President Javier Gandara said: “The reopening of Spain to international tourism, added to other factors such as the new migratory measures with the United Kingdom after Brexit, are the causes of a significant saturation of controls in our country, requiring a longer registration time at the border.”
Because of Brexit, tourists from the UK now need to have their passports stamped every time they enter and leave the Schengen Zone, including Spain, and Brits are only allowed to visit Spain for 90 days out of every 180 under the new laws.
It’s thought that the new Brexit legislation has led to massive queues at border controls in Spain.
Gandara said: “The congestion at airports is a great detriment to passengers, both national and international, in the form of delays or loss of flights or connections in the country and an added difficulty to the operation of airlines, already complex due to the pandemic, projecting a terrible international image of Spain.”
“Spain cannot now allow itself a congestion of its airports. At a key moment for the tourism sector such as Christmas and with the sights set on summer, it is imperative to improve passport controls, since the current situation is a grievance for passengers, for airline operations and for the image of Spain abroad.”
“As we warned a few months ago, not adopting the pertinent measures has caused significant damage due to the reactivation of international tourism and the reopening of routes that were paused due to the pandemic, as was the case in the United States.”
Hotel owners in Tenerife have echoed the ALA’s anger, with the president of the Ashotel group, Jorge Marichal, saying during a time when Covid is advancing it isn’t acceptable to have over 200 people crammed into arrival corridors and that this is doubled if two flights coincide.
According to the hoteliers, travellers weren’t social distancing and had to wait an hour in the queue.
Marichal said: “More than a year has passed since the reactivation of the mobility of people at airports and we continue to learn nothing.”
“The first image that a passenger or tourist gets on their arrival in the Canary Islands is the airport.”
“This control is the way to keep the disease at bay but it is essential to properly equip these legal procedures with the necessary resources, in this case, personnel, or to modify the points in which the necessary documentation is required.
“These circumstances are inconceivable after everything we have experienced.”
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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