Spain holiday ‘chaos’: Fury at ‘unacceptable scenes’ at major destination airports

Covid: Travellers recall ‘stressful’ process of pre-travel tests

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Tourism bosses have now called on the Spanish Government to urgently act as massive queues and delays impact holidays. British tourists have been caught up in the “chaos” at tourist hotspots.

Spain’s Airlines Association (ALA) has urged the Ministry of the Interior to hire more border staff at Spanish airports.

The tourism leaders fear the chaotic scenes will put British holidaymakers off visiting Spain.

The ALA said the opening up of Spain to key tourist markets, including the UK, had unleashed airport “chaos”.

It said thousands of passengers had missed their flights due to a massive queue at Madrid airport.

Other airports affected include Alicante, Malaga, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza and Gran Canaria.

ALA President Javier Gándara 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.”

Since Brexit, British tourists need their passport stamped each time they enter and exit the Schengen Zone, including Spain.

British people are only allowed to visit Spain for 90 days out of every 180 under new Brexit laws.

It is thought that the new legislation has led to an increase in queues at Spanish border controls.

Gándara 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.”

The ALA’s rage was echoed by hotel owners in Tenerife who said new coronavirus checks were causing delays.

President of the Ashotel group, Jorge Marichal said it wasn’t acceptable to have more than 200 people crammed into the arrival corridors and double this if two flights coincided.

According to the hoteliers there was no social distancing and passengers 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.”

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.

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