A newly implemented EU Regulation concerning border checks has caused chaos at airports all over Europe. The regulation, titled 458/2017, is believed to be a solution to counter terrorism and crime across borders. A key feature of the regulation involves carrying out stringent checks at the airport, which is believed to have added an extra 20 seconds in the processing time for each passenger. That translates to an additional hour per flight.
The additional time required to carry out checks resulted in several flight delays in Europe
The IATA (International Air Transport Association), the A4E (Airlines for Europe), AIRE (Airlines International Representation in Europe), ERA (European Regional Airlines) and the ACI (Airlines Council International) have now responded to the disturbance by penning a letter to the European Council of Ministers, demanding more resources to better manage the situation and reduce delays.
Rafael Schvartzman, IATA Regional Vice President, Europe, issued a statement, in which, he spoke of supporting the new regulation as it helps improve the current security situation. However, he added, that government failed to consider the outcome of such a sudden regulation and implied that more resources should have been provided to deal with the change.
As of now, around 97% of flights have been delayed due to the extra checks. Schvartzman believes that more border control officers need to be deployed and that more automatic gates would have to be opened.
Contents of the letter
In the letter, the A4E, the IATA, the ERA, the AIRE and the ACI expressed their concerns surrounding the implementation of Regulation EU 458/2017 and requested that member states take measures to minimise the inconvenience caused to passengers.
They also provided statistics proving the increase in delays after the regulation was activated. It is reported that 97% of flights were delayed in the period between April 2017 and June 2017. The average delay was calculated to be 30% more than what was experienced in 2016.
The regulation is believed to have made things even more difficult during the holiday season; something that media outlets across Europe have documented.
The IATA and other agencies also mentioned in the letter that the situation would become worse if measures weren’t taken. According to estimates, over 300 million flyers will be affected in the next two years, which is 50% of the people flying through airports in EU.
At present, it has been found that the extra checks have caused processing delays to go up by 5% in certain cases. In Paris Orly Airport, the measures have impacted operations to a point where the waiting time at border control has increased by an hour on almost half the days.
What’s being done so far?
The letter mentions that airports and airlines are doing their best to reduce the waiting time. However, this has led to the overall operations being affected. Airlines are also having to face compensation claims that would have never come about if it weren’t for the new regulation.
The IATA and other agencies have categorised the situation as “unsustainable” as of now.