Britons travelling to Spain for a holiday this summer could face “missed connections” or “endless queues” at passport border control. The issue was raised by Javier Gandara, the president of the Spanish association of airlines, ALA.
Gandara said: “The image of endless queues or missed connections is the last thing we need.”
He raised the alarm following a weekend of long queues at passport control at Madrid airport.
The ALA said the chaotic scenes were likely to be repeated at tourist hotspots such as Alicante, Malaga and the Canary Islands.
Gandara demanded Spain’s Ministry of the Interior take action so the “necessary resources are available in all Spanish airports to handle the influx of tourists” at the beginning of the summer.
He blamed the queues on a lack of border staff to process tourists at passport control during the summer months.
Gandara said 1,000 tourists were affected in Madrid this weekend on connecting flights while 4,500 had been impacted throughout March.
Some tourists catching intercontinental flights have struggled to catch their stopovers on time due to the long queues.
Gandara said “not long from now” a huge influx of British tourists are expected to arrive which could create a “possible problem” at tourist hotspots.
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More than 80 percent of international tourists travel to Spain by air and Gandara expressed the queues would give a bad impression of the country.
The airport operator AENA had said that border force is not its responsibility and said it is up to the Ministry of the Interior to resolve the problem.
Since the UK left the EU, British tourists have to have their passport stamped every time they enter and leave Spain.
This means that queues could be longer than before Brexit as it takes more time to process Britons.
Last summer, British tourists faced long queues at several major Spanish airports during the peak holiday season.
British tourists can stay in Spain for a total of 90 days out of every 180 without needing a visa.
They will need to get their passport stamped when they enter and leave the country to prove they didn’t overstay.
If tourists do overstay the 90 day period, they could face fines, deportation or even a ban from entering Spain.
However, passport stamps may soon be a thing of the past as the EU is set to introduce a new electronic system.
The ETIAS will operate electronically and control the entry of non-EU citizens such as Britons to the bloc.
Britons will have to pay a fee every three years to have an ETIAS which they will need to holiday in the EU, including Spain.
The launch of ETIAS was recently delayed and is now expected to start at some point in 2024.
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot
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