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Passengers facing four-hour delays at European airports

Airline association A4E says understaffed border controls are delaying thousands of flights

Pictured: A4E says flight delays have increased a shocking 300 per cent at some airports

Passengers are facing four-hour security queues at some European airports thanks to a shortage of border staff.

A4E, Europe’s largest airline association, has warned that thousands of flights will be unable to depart on time due to understaffed border controls at airports including Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Lisbon, Lyon, Paris-Orly, Milan and Brussels.

The association said travellers have become victims of the disproportionate impact that a new EU Regulation is having on the flow of traffic at European airports. The regulation relates to the reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borders. 

Thomas Reynaert, MD of A4E, said: “Member states need to take all necessary measures now to prevent such disruptions and deploy appropriate staff and resources in sufficient numbers to carry out the requested checks. A4E has stressed the disproportionate waiting times and disrupted flow of traffic at external borders with the European Commission and calls for a swift solution on behalf of European passengers and airlines." 

He added that during the peak season of the year, travellers are facing long lines and can’t get on their flights.

He said: “Queuing for up to four hours has been the top record these days; airports like Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Lisbon, Lyon, Paris-Orly, Milan or Brussels are producing shameful pictures of devastated passengers in front of immigration booths, in lines stretching hundreds of metres. At some airports, flight delays have increased by 300 per cent compared to last year — member states must take the responsibility for this.”

Cheapflights global head of communications and PR, Phil Bloomfield, said long waits were "understandably causing alarm". He added: "The best advice is for people to ensure they're leaving as much time as they can to get through security and immigration ... and be ready to change their plans accordingly and to ensure they've planned for a delay. This problem doesn't sound like it's going away soon, but it's impact can at least be mitigated if people prepare."

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