No-deal Brexit could result in five-hour queues at Spanish airports

26 February 2019 (Last Updated February 26th, 2019 13:34)

British consumer group Which? has warned that British tourists may have to wait for five hours or more in queues at Spanish airports in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

No-deal Brexit could result in five-hour queues at Spanish airports
Brits to spend hours in queues at Spanish airports in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Credit: ChiralJon.

British consumer group Which? has warned that British tourists may have to wait for five hours or more in queues at Spanish airports in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

The airports in Alicante, Tenerife, Lanzarote, and Malaga are likely to be most affected by extra border checks if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal.

Which? claimed that Alicante Airport in southern Spain will require the resources to manage an additional 201 hours of immigration checks on British passport holders per day.

According to estimates by the European Tourism Association, these checks will add 90 seconds for each UK passport holder.

“If additional checks at passport control are implemented in the event of a no-deal, it seems that very long queues are going to be an unwanted side effect.”

This means it would take a single passport lane nearly five hours to process 189 travellers on a single Ryanair flight, if all of the passengers were UK passport holders.

Alicante Airport is expected to face serious problems as 43% of its arrivals are from the UK. Nearly 2.9 million British passengers travel through the airport each year.

The Government of Spain has not announced its plan to deal with the additional immigration requirements.

However, Portugal is planning to open special lanes at Faro Airport in the Algarve and Funchal, the capital of Madeira, to provide fast-track access for British passport holders.

Which? travel editor Rory Boland was quoted by The Guardian as saying: “Airports can be chaotic at the best of times but if additional checks at passport control are implemented in the event of a no-deal, it seems that very long queues are going to be an unwanted side effect.

“Until there is a deal or these airports announce simpler arrangements, you should consider what you may need if you have to fly to them, as it is very likely that you’ll be in a queue for several hours. Make sure you have food, water, and essentials for kids like nappies to hand,” Boland added.