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Long Spanish airport queues the ‘new normal’ for Brits

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Spanish Airport Queues
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British tourists heading out to catch some winter sun have been told to expect long Spanish airport queues as passengers have waited upwards of 45 minutes to get through controls at popular holiday destinations. Two national travel agency associations, FETAVE and UNAV, have said the long queues are now ‘normal’ when landing in the country. 

The associations have made multiple complaints to the Spanish Government but claim that their concerns have fallen on “deaf ears”. Airports popular with Brits are feeling the brunt of the UK passengers moving to the non-EU passport control queues, which were already loaded with non-Schengen tourists looking for some winter warmth. 

Alicante-Elche, Malaga, The Canary Island and the Balearics are said to be some of the worst-hit by the move. Twitter user, Sudifoodie, tweeted “So thrilled to be back in Andalusia though it has been quite a journey with epic passport queues at Malaga Airport.”

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Tourist associations are begging for more staff and Policia Nacional officers to help things run smoother for their customers at border control. They warn that with Brits making up 25% of all international passengers at Spanish airports, the problem is only going to get worse. This comes even as Spain place a ban on all unvaccinated visitors from the UK, taking away some custom from the coming months. 

As the UK is no longer in the Schengen Zone, tourists need to get their passports stamped, leading to long Spanish airport queues. If they fail to get their stamps they can be accused of overstaying which can lead to a fine and a ban on returning for five years. The rules on time spent say that visits can be for as long as 90 days out of every 180 days, rolling and applicable across the entire zone.


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Mallorca politician demands end to environmentally damaging ‘ghost flights’ by airlines saving their slots

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THE practice of airlines flying empty planes to keep coveted flight slots has been slammed by a Mallorcan politician.

The deputy for MES in Mallorca, Josep Ferra, is calling for the end of so-called ‘ghost flights’, calling them an ‘environmental outrage’ – and has put the blame on the EU.

The term ‘ghost flights’ refers to the slots given to airlines, which are renewed as long as they meet 50% to 80% of their commitments, in the EU’s ‘use it or lose it’ policy.  

As many flights have a low demand, especially during the pandemic, this means that companies fly planes without passengers to ensure they keep the routes.

Now he has presented an initiative in parliament to urge the European Union to modify the regulations.

He said “How is it possible that it is a European law that causes flights without passengers with the environmental cost that this causes?

“The economic and environmental cost will be enormous. Lufthansa alone has announced 18,000 ghost flights for the next few months,” said Ferra.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary has also called out Lufthansa over ghost flights,  saying: “The German and EU public have already bailed out Lufthansa with billions of state aid to Lufthansa and their subsidiaries, Brussels Airlines, Swiss and Austrian, and instead of operating empty flights just so they can block slots, Lufthansa should release the seats on these flights for sale at low fares to reward the German and European taxpayers who have subsidised it with billions during the COVID-19 crisis.”

O’Leary added: “Lufthansa loves crying crocodile tears about the environment when doing everything possible to protect its slots.”

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