Holidaymakers facing hours in queues because of new European Union rules at airports

Tightened border checks mean lengthy delays an airline lobby group has warned

The EC said that member states have had time to prepare for the tighter controls which were brought in following the Paris terror attacks in November 2015.

Just to compound the problem, there is also a Europe-wide shortage of border control staff available to handle these extra duties which are said to involve two to three minutes extra scrutiny of passengers' passports against the aforementioned terror lists at external borders.

The problem - at what is traditionally already the busiest time of the year for flights - is being made worse by a lack of border officials on the continent, it is claimed.

But the new security controls require officers to sends details of passengers from non-Schengen countries, such as the United Kingdom, through the "Schengen Information System", a big pan-European database to alert authorities if they are known to pose a threat.

Passenger figures are up 4 per cent over the same weekend a year ago, with over 2,669 flights expected to arrive and depart between Friday and Monday.

Lord Callanan, the aviation minister, said he would urge his counterparts in Spain, Portugal and Italy to do more to cut waiting times for British tourists after reports of four-hour queues.

Passengers have faced queues of up to four hours at airport arrivals and departures at popular British holiday destinations including Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Lisbon, Lyon, Paris-Orly, Milan and Brussels, Airlines for Europe (A4E) has said.




Thomas Reynaert, managing director of A4E, said: "Member states need to take all necessary measures now to prevent such disruptions and deploy appropriate staff and resources in sufficient numbers to carry out the requested checks".

Holidaymakers are being warned they face lengthy delays at European airports this summer after border checks were tightened.

In a statement, it added: "Tour operators will ensure that customers get to the airport in plenty of time so that they are not in danger of missing their flights".

Thousands of air passengers are facing delays because of changes to security checks.

Airlines UK revealed on Tuesday it had urged the Government to use "whatever influence it can" to pressure European Union states to adequately staff their airports in light of the tough new measures.

One Briton tweeted on Tuesday: "22 people were not allowed on flight home from Barcelona airport yesterday afternoon".

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