The Ministry of the Interior has indicated that it will reinforce the 12 main Spanish airports this summer with some 500 definitive agents after passengers and some airlines communicated their complaints about alleged flight losses due to delays, although the Grande-Marlaska department has assured that neither neither the ministry nor Aena have received said claims.
Sources from the department led by Fernando Grande-Marlaska have reiterated that they have no record of the “chaos” revealed by Iberia, which estimated this Monday at 15,000 the connections lost by its passengers since last March 1, blamed on the queues and delays in the passport controls at Spanish airports. Specifically, Iberia denounced that last day the departure of numerous flights was delayed again in T4 of the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport as a result of large queues in the passport control area.
For his part, the president of the Madrid Business Confederation (CEIM, employers), Miguel Garrido, assured this Tuesday that it is “urgent” for the Interior to recompose at airports “the quality that such an important activity must have” such as the one related with the arrival of tourists in Spain.
1,725 police officers, in total
The same Interior sources have announced that as of the end of this month of June, the police staff at the airports of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura it will be reinforced by about 500 agents.
Thus, the total number of police stationed at these airports, some 1,725, will be higher than the existing staff before the pandemic -1,456 in June 2019-, all despite the fact that Aena’s passenger forecast for this month, 16 million, is less to 19 million encrypted in the same period of 2019.
The agents will come from the last promotion that was sworn in on May 20 and, of the total of 500 new police officers at said airports, 189 will go to the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport, which will reach 600 troops, and 90 to El Prat airport . In addition, the so-called summer 2022 plan will send an unknown number of trainee agents to these and other airports during the summer season.
The Interior has insisted that the definitive reinforcement of the Immigration and Borders workforce at the country’s busiest airports will be carried out when the passenger forecasts announced by Aena are still lower than the levels prior to the start of the pandemic, since it estimates for this 2022 a total of 56 million passengers compared to the 66 registered in 2019.
Despite not having evidence of any formal complaint from airlines or travellers, the same sources have explained that queues or delays in passport controls may occur in a timely and non-structural manner, since police filters are dimensioned to the flow of passengers and reinforced when necessary.
Regarding the exceptional situation of British travellers, who account for around 10% of the annual passengers at Spanish airports, Interior emphasizes that, despite being obliged to go through passport control, the inspection carried out on them is minimal.
British citizens, as approved by the European Commission, enter the country through the same automatic controls as European citizens, although they do so through a unique queue and with the corresponding passport stamp. The same Interior sources assure that the Police personnel in these controls is sufficient despite the volume of Britons who, since the approval of Brexit, go through the inspections corresponding to the countries that do not belong to the Schengen area.