Ministers urged to use EU influence over airport counter-terror queues

Alicia Cross
August 4, 2017

But new rules, which were introduced after a series of terror attacks in Europe, mean checks against a series of databases are now carried out on each passenger from non-Schengen countries.

That's because European airports have tightened their security and border checks.

She urged independent travellers to check for delays with their airlines and "ensure they factor these longer queuing times into their travel plans when flying".

"At some airports, flight delays have increased by 300% compared to past year".

Some have been forced to wait in four-hour queues at passport desks with passengers arriving at airports in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Belgium among those worst affected.

Passengers have been hit by delays of up to four hours - longer than some of their flights - after arriving at airports popular with British tourists.

It came as Ryanair, Europe's busiest airline, admitted that nearly a quarter of its flights had run late over a 24-hour period this week because passengers could not get through security to board flights to the UK.

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"Airports like Madrid, Palma, Lisbon, Lyons, Paris Orly, Milan or Brussels are producing shameful pictures of devastated passengers in front of immigration booths, in lines stretching hundreds of metres".

"It is also extremely important that border control check points are sufficiently resourced".

"More checks can lead to more delays, and that is the price for security".

The Schengen area consists of 26 nations, including 22 of the 28 European Union members (excluding the UK, Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus and Croatia), along with non-EU members Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

And he appeared to blame this week's chaos on airport authorities, particularly in southern Europe, that have failed to prepare for the stringent new checks - despite having had two years'warning.

"Every member state agreed to them, so the rules we have are very clearly there to protect the security of our citizens. We can not have on the one hand, a joint request from member states to have more checks and controls, to increase security, and at the same time have complaints about longer waiting periods".

"There is a flight delay in terms of the passport checks on the way in and that certainly could be beefed up and we've made recommendations to the Department of Justice to improve staffing levels at that particular channel", he said.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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