Britons face ‘chaos’ at Gran Canaria airport as tourism chiefs slam sardine-like arrivals

Johnson welcomes plans in September to lift US travel restriction

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Tourism chiefs have slammed the major delays at Gran Canaria as completely unacceptable. They have said it gives a bad image of the island to foreign tourists.

Gran Canaria is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Spanish Canary Islands.

Tourism leaders have said the overcrowding at the island’s airport is completely unacceptable and threatens people’s health as well as giving a bad image.

The leaders have called for more staff to be brought in to tackle the heavy queues and chaotic scenes at border control.

Passport control has become more complicated for British tourists since Brexit regulations were brought in.

Health checks are also being blamed for the delay as travel opens up following pandemic restrictions.

Tourism leaders have said British tourists shouldn’t have to put up with the lengthy queues at the airport.

The Federation of Hospitality and Tourism Entrepreneurs (FEHT) of Las Palmas said the airport was on the verge of collapse.

This weekend saw thousands of international tourists waiting in chaotic queues for health checks.

Photos posted on social media showed hundreds of passengers “glued to each other and without keeping social distance”.

On Saturday, there were more than 424 operations scheduled which represents more than 52,000 people.

There were only eight counters open for passengers from countries within the Schengen zone and another eight for the rest according to Aena data.

This reportedly caused a collapse in the terminal at certain points during the chaotic day at arrivals.

Bottleneck moments were also reported on Sunday, but to a lesser extent as only 355 operations were scheduled.

FEHT president, José Maria Mañaricua, said there had been problems for the last two weekends at the airport.

He demanded the airport put more staff on the health check counters to end the chaotic scenes.

He said: “The image of hundreds of passengers waiting with no minimum distance between them is very bad for the destination.”

The tourism association said the airport should have been prepared for the heavy queues as it knew how many arrivals were scheduled.

One member said the tourism industry on the island couldn’t be “tarnished like this” by the queues.

The chaotic scenes are said to be worse on the weekends when the greatest number of tourists arrive for holidays.

British passengers are advised to check the latest travel restrictions on the UK Government website before travelling.

The airport has been contacted for comment. 

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.

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