Gulf holidaymakers warned of delays at airports in Europe

Author: Greg WilcoxThu, 2017-08-03 03:00ID: 1501706076295206000
LONDON: Gulf travelers have been warned to expect travel chaos at some airports in Europe this summer and that the problem could get worse before it gets better.
Thousands of passengers have been forced to queue for hours and missed flights due to EU rule changes brought in after recent terror attacks in Paris and Brussels. People entering and leaving the Schengen area, which allows passport-free movement across 26 European countries, now face more security checks.
That combined with the height-of-the-summer traveling season has resulted in chaos at several airports, with travelers posting pictures on social media of lengthy queues.
And as the busiest period of the year approaches, all passengers without a Schengen passport — including the many thousands of Gulf holidaymakers embarking on their annual trips to Europe — have been told to expect the queues to get longer.
“Travelers face long lines and can’t get on their flights. Queuing for up to four hours has been the top record these days; airports like Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Lisbon, Lyon, Paris-Orly, Milan or Brussels are producing shameful pictures of devastated passengers in front of immigration booths, in lines stretching hundreds of meters,” Thomas Reynaert, managing director of A4E, Europe’s largest airline association, said.
“The (new EU) regulation is not fully implemented in all member states, which may lead to even more disruption during the next weeks.”
Reynaert said the blame for many people’s holiday hell falls flatly on countries which aren’t staffing the airports sufficiently.
“Member States need to take all necessary measures now to prevent such disruptions and deploy appropriate staff and resources in sufficient numbers to carry out the requested checks,” he added.
“At some airports, flight delays have increased by 300 percent compared to last year — member states must take the responsibility for this,” added Reynaert.
ABTA, the UK’s largest travel association, has told all passengers without a Schengen passport to expect longer waiting times and adjust their plans accordingly.
“Independent travelers 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,” ABTA told Arab News.
It added: “It is also extremely important that border control check points are sufficiently resourced so that queuing times are kept to a minimum.”
In what was an exhausting day for air passengers across the continent, British Airways (BA) was hit by check in system problems at airports that included London Heathrow, Gatwick and London City.
The airline said the glitch caused “some delays for our customers” on Wednesday morning. BA had to use a manual check-in process that takes longer than the computerized system.
Meanwhile, passengers suffered hours of delays at two Milan airports this week after unions staged a strike to protest airport plans to outsource some services to cooperatives. The action delayed over 60 flights at Milan’s Linate and Malpensa airports, with service returning to normal by early Tuesday afternoon.
Main category: World

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