BUDGET airline Ryanair has been criticised for leaving over 70 Stansted-bound passengers stranded at Castellon Airport because police officers arrived late for passport control duties.
The Spanish government’s sub-delegate for Castellon Province, Soledad Ten Bachero, said: “You could have waited a bit.”
She added the question, ‘How many times does a plane leave late?’
Policia Nacional officers were delayed in arriving at the airport on Tuesday because they were carrying out other duties.
Worried passengers soon realised they would not be flying to Essex with the cut-off point reached for boarding to end, ensuring the plane left on time.
Suitcases were removed from the flight and returned to the terminal.
The sub-delegate has called on the Ministry of the Interior for permanent police staffing at the airport due to the increase of international flights to non-EU countries like the United Kingdom.
A team of seven officers was in place at Castellon in 2015 but was withdrawn within six months at the request of local police chiefs.
In a statement, Ryanair said: “Due to the shortage of police personnel which caused large queues at passport control, several Ryanair passengers missed their flight to London-Stansted.”
“To minimise the inconvenience to our customers, Ryanair quickly organised an alternative service for the passengers.”
The carrier criticised the lack of police and said it would be working with airport owner, Aerocas, to ensure that ‘this does not happen again’.
An Aerocas spokesman said that ‘we must work on solutions to avoid a repeat of Tuesday’.
Police unions have repeatedly called for increased staffing at airports across Spain to reduce passport control queues for non-Schengen area travellers, now that passenger numbers have mostly returned to pre-pandemic levels.
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