It was supposed to be a golden day in Spanish aviation history. But for many the shine did not last.
On the first day of business at the new fourth terminal at Madrid Barajas airport, there was confusion, missed flights and claims for compensation. Passengers found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time – some reporting waits of one to three hours to check in. “The reality is that we all had to wait,” said one man. “ There was nothing else to do.” “I had to ask for a chair,” said a disabled woman. “I can’t stand for hours.” Other problems included baggage being delivered to the wrong place and no stairs for passengers waiting to leave planes. “On the first day people didn’t know how to use the facilities,” said the Public Works Minister, Magdalena Alvarez, “but after a few days things will settle down and people can benefit from a great airport.” The 6.2 billion euro project will make the airport Europe’s second busiest after London Heathrow, and the 10th busiest in the world.