MPs have come under fire for ignoring warnings over passport chaos – after airlines claim to have told them about problems as early as May.
As thousands of beleaguered now Brits face queuing for hours in airports across Europe, Airlines UK, the industry body, said it had written to the Department of Transport over the Easter period warning ministers over the problems.
Holidaymakers have found themselves in queues stretching back hundreds of metres in airports across Malaga, Majorca, Lisbon, Milan, Paris, due to stringent new passport checks.
But Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said he wrote to the then aviation minister Lord Ahmad in the wake of similar problems over Easter.
British holidaymakers, seen here in the huge queues at Majorca’s Palma airport – as MPs come under fire for ignoring warnings over passport chaos
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, (left) said he wrote to former aviation minister Lord Ahmad (right) in the wake of similar problems over Easter
Queues of up to four hours have been reported at EU airports following the bungled introduction of tougher security checks for those travelling into Europe’s Schengen zone
However in June, Transport ministers said they were ‘encouraged’ the situation had calmed down and no action was taken.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary slammed new passport controls and blamed it on an increase in the number of delayed flights.
Mr O’Leary said he was ‘jumping up and down’ in frustration at the disruption caused by passengers stuck in queues leaving the Schengen area.
He added: ‘If people are leaving your country, what is the problem?
‘You’re at the peak of the travel period, the UK school holidays. Why you’re going through outbound passport control in any European country is a mystery to me.’
Last night, ministers were accused of ignoring warnings over the passport chaos.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary slammed new passport controls and blamed it on an increase in the number of delayed flights
This shocking picture shows stranded passengers in a queue stretching back hundreds of feet in at Palma Airport on July 18
Queues of up to four hours have been reported at EU airports following the introduction of tougher security checks for those travelling into Europe’s Schengen zone.
The worst hit include Malaga, Majorca, Lisbon, Milan, Paris-Orly, Lyon and Brussels, which have seen a surge in tourists at the start of the summer holidays.
The regulations were first proposed following the Paris terror attacks in 2015 but passengers have complained there are not enough staff or ePassport gates to cope.
And stricken passengers have now been told they will not be compensated for missing flights if the passport checks made them late.
Palma airport, pictured when the changes were first brought in, is among those hit by the changes. This was the scene there in June when passengers reportedly missed flights. Spanish officials said the new rules had ‘complicated passport control for British tourists’
Aviation minister Lord Callanan said he understood the ‘frustration’ caused and promised to hold urgent talks with Portugal, Spain and Italy
EU regulations that force airlines to pay compensation for delayed or cancelled flights do not apply if the airlines are not directly responsible.
Aviation minister Lord Callanan said he understood the ‘frustration’ caused and promised to hold urgent talks with Portugal, Spain and Italy.
Lord Callanan said he would urge his counterparts to ‘do all they can to reduce queues and allow travellers to get on with their holidays’.