Long lines at Madrid airport prompt hiring spree to deal with tourist surge
Published: Jun 09, 2022 07:16 PM
Long lines at the Madrid Barajas Airport in recent weeks should ease as the Spanish police work on hiring more staff to deal with the surge in tourism from the easing of ­COVID-19 restrictions, the government said.

With a reinforcement of 500 new hires, more than 1,700 officials will work at Spain's busiest airports, including in Madrid and Barcelona, to control the flow of foreign tourists that has increased markedly in the past weeks.

The long lines in Madrid are similar to problems at airports in Britain, Amsterdam and elsewhere in Europe due to travel resuming as the pandemic eases.

To further ease pressure on arrivals, a separate queue will be set up for British tourists, the biggest group of foreign visitors to Spain, so they can use electronic passport gates, a police source said.

British travelers will still need to get their passports stamped after using the electronic gates, the source added.

International Airlines Group's Spanish unit Iberia complained on Monday about delays and chaos at Madrid's Barajas Airport passport control and said around 15,000 of its passengers had missed their flight since March 1.

Spanish Interior Ministry denied anyone had missed a flight at the airport.

"In recent months the National Police has not registered a single complaint for missed flights," the ministry said in a statement.

"There are no queues or delays that go beyond punctual situations generated by the coincidence of several flights from outside the Schengen area," the statement said.

People from within the Schengen area, a group of 26 European countries, which includes Spain, can travel freely without presenting passports.

According to the Interior Ministry, around 18.7 million travelers will transit Madrid's Airport in June this year.