Britons face airport delays due to new EU security rules

The Government has been urged to pressure EU states to adequately staff their airports as British holidaymakers face more delays due to new security measures.

Passengers have queued for up to four hours at airports this week, with some EU states criticised for not bringing in extra staff.

The new rules have been introduced following terror attacks in Paris and Brussels.

EU countries have to carry out more stringent checks on passengers who are entering or leaving the Schengen area, which lets people move through much of the bloc passport-free.

The details of people from non-Schengen countries – including the UK – now have to be run through databases to see if they pose a threat.

Airlines UK, an industry body representing UK-registered carriers, said it had warned the Department for Transport about the problem in May, although they were told by ministers the issue had eased.

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’ parent company IAG, claimed some passengers had missed flights due to the delays.

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.”

Meanwhile, Barcelona airport is experiencing its own problems – unofficial strike action by security staff which has caused long queues and missed flights.

ACETA, the association of Spanish air transport companies, said that, since 24 July, around 1,000 passengers had missed their flights.

A spokeswoman for the airport’s operator AENA said the problems had started around a week ago.

She added: “They (security workers) have an official strike starting on Friday so it will continue, I think.”

People travelling from Barcelona to the UK should arrive at the airport “at least three hours early”, she said.

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