The Ministry of the Interior denies the biggest: there are no more queues than usual at the passport controls at Barajas airport, in Madrid, or at any other Spanish aerodrome, according to sources from the department headed by Fernando Grande-Marlaska. They also ensure that the forecast of troops made for the coming months will be sufficient. Doubt the Iberia Group’s complaint of the loss of 15,000 connections in the capital since March. And he maintains that there is no risk of collapse due to the arrival of the British, despite the fact that after Brexit they have stricter access than before the pandemic. Despite this, they implicitly recognize that the return of tourism after the two years of the pandemic will tighten access and will reinforce the workforce with some 500 troops at the 12 busiest airports in the country (on Monday the department announced that the reinforcement will be from 200 policemen in Barajas).
This increase in troops, according to Interior sources, is not the consequence of the chaos experienced in recent days at the Madrid-Barajas airport. In fact, they refuse to acknowledge that there is such a collapse. “The reinforcement was already planned and it is not done now due to Iberia’s complaints. There is no problem or chaos in Barajas”, these sources insist. Despite this, the images released by Iberia, which belongs to the British group IAG, and by dozens of travelers who have uploaded videos to social networks with the long waits in front of the controls show the opposite.
In addition, the Madrid Business Confederation-CEOE called on Tuesday for “urgent measures” from the ministry regarding security at the Madrid airport, and warned of the “devastating effect” that the queues have for the call Brand Spain. Miguel Mirones, president of the Institute for Spanish Tourism Quality, called for an effort: “We cannot allow difficulties in airport infrastructure management due to lack of personnel to block recovery in demand. This situation must be resolved in any way.”
From the Interior they already denied “categorically” on Monday that there were significant delays in passport controls at Spanish airports. And they assured that it is “some police filters that are dimensioned with respect to the flow of passengers, and that they are reinforced whenever necessary.” An extreme that they maintain despite the ball that has been generated in the prelude to summer and the expected increase in the arrival of tourists, at levels similar to those of 2019, before the coronavirus crisis. Aena, for its part, differentiates the personnel of these filters with those of security that depend on the airport manager, where there are no incidents.
Likewise, regarding Iberia’s complaints, the department led by Grande-Marlaska is blunt: “We reiterate that there are no queues that go beyond specific situations generated by the coincidence of several flights from outside the Schengen area, and we do not There is evidence that flights have been lost, much less the figures of 15,000 that have been released without any demonstration, due to incidents in passport control, ”they warned in a statement this Tuesday, when the televisions showed long queues at those points From the airport.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
The situation, according to the vision of the Interior, is absolutely normal and they anticipate that there will be sufficient troops. And this despite the fact that for this exercise, tourists residing in the United Kingdom will not be able to access the country by the usual route until Brexit. In other words, they will have to go through the passport filter for access to third countries, with the increase in the average transit time that this entails. An issue that is not trivial, since it is the main issuing country of travelers to Spain (18 million in 2019).
Reinforcements at Easter
Despite the situation that Interior draws, in which queues occur only occasionally, it does implicitly recognize that there is a shortage of troops. Hence, it has scheduled a reinforcement of some 500 officials (it will be a consolidated reinforcement, not a specific support) in the 12 Spanish airports with the most traffic. The aerodromes benefited are those of Madrid (it will receive 189 police officers), Barcelona (90), Alicante, Valencia, Malaga, Menorca, Mallorca, Ibiza, Tenerife South, Lanzarote South, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria. In this way, the gap between the troops that were in these aerodromes in 2019 (1,456) and those that are at this time, before this reinforcement (1,226), will be closed, according to data from the ministry.
Already in the past Holy Week, according to these sources, there were “reinforcements of specific personnel of the General Immigration and Borders Police Station, especially in the templates of El Prat and Barajas”. And they announced that it would also happen this summer, “in which the traditional reinforcements will be launched, as usual.”
The conflict generated by Iberia’s complaint has not gone down well within the Executive. In fact, since the problems in Barajas were leaked to the press, the Ministry of the Interior has made an effort to deny what happened. “In recent months, the National Police has not registered a single complaint for missed flights, which contrasts with certain statements. Nor Aena ”, insisted the same sources. Thus, they doubt the loss of connecting flights in the capital. However, the fact that they are not aware does not mean that it has been verified that it is true information or not, but rather that they have no complaints. This may be because it is the airline that receives the client’s protest and relocates him on another later flight without having to report it.