EXCLUSIVE by James Bryce
MORE border checks by the Spanish are being blamed for a long hot summer of delays getting in and out of the Rock.
Gibraltar officials have also cited an increase in tourist traffic and RAF training exercises, which have added to the long delays.
Tourists and businesses have complained to the Olive Press of waits of up to three hours each way when arriving by car.
The problem came to a head on Friday when the runway was repeatedly closed to allow military planes to land and take off, causing huge tailbacks in both directions.
“It took me three hours to get into Gibraltar,” insisted Gerard Kelly, 60, from Marbella.
“My wife ended up getting out and walking in and lots of drivers were giving up and turning round.
“I have never seen it this bad, I’m surprised there weren’t more arguments. It is very bad for tourism.
“A British policewoman told me it was air traffic and that there may have been a problem with a Hercules,” he added.
Vejer Hotelier Anna Garcia, who regularly travels to Gibraltar to collect supplies for her business, added: “The last couple of months are the worst I have ever seen it and, it has been regularly taking more than two hours to get in and out,” she said.
The final straw came when their last trip, last week, took three hours each way.
“Next time we will park in La Linea and walk in.”
The delays are being seen as bad news for both business and tourism on the Rock.
One bank executive, who asked not to be named, told the Olive Press: “This has all come out of the fishing dispute.
“The Spanish police are deliberately slowing everyone down, it is a major abuse of our civil rights and is very bad for business.
“Who in their right mind is going to return to Gibraltar when they have spent six hours getting in and out.”
When contacted by the Olive Press, a spokesman for the Royal Gibraltar Police admitted: “The frontier queues have been made worse recently by increased Guardia Civil searches.
“On top of this there is currently a two-week RAF exercise, due to end next Friday, which is causing problems. “There are 10 Tornados taking off and landing as well as the regular commercial flights so as you can imagine, it has created a huge bottleneck at the border.”