Large queues at border controls at airports across Europe are being reported daily after European legislation came into force requiring tougher border checks to combat terrorism.
Previously non-Schengen passport holders would hand their passport over at the border for inspection, but the officer would typically only spend a few seconds checking the document.
Now the Officer must run the passport through several databases which takes several minutes. Whilst most seem to recognise these checks are necessary the criticism is that countries had 18 months to increase man power and equipment at border controls to cope with the extra checks, it doesn’t seem that this has happened.
Some airlines are reporting that their customers are having to queue for up to four hours when they arrive in a country. Airlines for Europe (A4E) has accused many countries of failing to properly staff passport checks, suggesting that some delays have increased 300 per cent since last year.
The group, which represents airlines including British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair, has written to the EU to ask member states, saying they ‘must take responsibility for this’. Managing Director, Thomas Reynaert, is quoted as saying: “Airports like Madrid, Palma, Lisbon, Lyon, Paris Orly, Milan or Brussels are producing shameful pictures of devastated passengers in front of immigration booths, in lines stretching hundreds of metres.”