BRITISH tour operators have reportedly slammed Spanish authorities over lengthy passport control queues at Palma airport.
A Spanish police spokesperson admitted airport cops needed at least 20 more officers to cope with summer tourist crowds at Son Sant Joan.
Spain’s airport authority, AENA, said it was taking measures to tackle the problem, which saw thousands of British holidaymakers stuck in long queues, some missing flights.
“We have to raise an official complaint because everyone knew beforehand this was a problem,” said a police spokesperson.
“In order for the border controls at the airport to function correctly we need a minimum of 20 more police officers.
“In April, more arrived, but given the volume of work they have been overwhelmed.”
A spokesperson for the UK’s Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) told the Olive Press: “ABTA is aware that new, stricter passport checks are resulting in longer queues at Palma airport which is already busy due to a significant increase in passenger numbers.
“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 ensure that they factor these longer queuing times into their travel plans when flying in and out of the airport.”
The Spanish government’s Balearic delegate, Maria Salom, confirmed a new law to reinforce controls for non-European Union and Schengen residents ‘had complicated passport control for British tourists’.
“Before Easter, the Ministry of the Interior sent a reinforcement of 25 police officers. What we need is for AENA to help with more personnel in order to help with the queues and avoid problems,” Salom said.
AENA confirmed it had added extra staff to ease the queues.
Airlines represented by industry bodies ACETA and ALA confirmed they would not wait for passengers held up in queues.
“The plane will not wait for passengers because if it does it could affect the entire schedule of flights and the accumulation of delays could cause cancellations,” a spokesperson said.