Passengers at Mallorca’s Palma airport have suffered horror delays this month - but with recruitment stalling, things may still get worse.
Mallorca airport could “collapse” without the urgent recruitment of more staff, a Spanish police union has warned.
Thousands of holidaymakers have already flocked to Mallorca this year - with many experiencing nightmare delays at the island’s Palma airport.
According to the Unified Police Union in the Balearic Islands, the nightmare queues are only going to get worse.
"During the pandemic, as there were fewer flights and passengers it wasn't a problem, but now we are faced with a great summer season but with few officers,” a union spokesperson said.
Why are the delays at Mallorca airport so bad?
As early summer tourism surges, tourists have faced winding queues at Mallorca airport security.
Post-Brexit rules - requiring nonEU residents to have their passports stamped on arrival and departure - have added to the chaos.
“It’s going to be a nightmare this summer at the airport if it’s going to be like this” one British tourist posted on social media earlier this week.
More police officers are urgently needed for customs checks, tourism operators have claimed.
Without these personnel, the police union insists that “the airport would collapse.”
But recruitment isn’t easy - police officers don't want to come to work in Mallorca because they don't get paid enough to cope with the island’s sky-high cost of living.
The union estimates that there are roughly 200 national police vacancies in the Balearic islands, with the shortage flowing down to the airport.
“[Low police numbers lead to] the continuous delay in collecting luggage and the arrival of tourists to their hotels,” a union spokesperson said.
“The big losers from the lack of police are the citizens and tourists.”
Will tourists abandon Mallorca?
Tourism chiefs have urgently called for more customs staff to handle the influx of travellers.
More delays could put people off Mallorca, Líneas Aéreas association president Javier Gándara warned.
"This problem of congestion in passport controls has transcended in international media, which could discourage international travellers to come to our holiday country,” he said.
“We cannot afford it."
All over Europe, airports are suffering from horror delays, as many people take overseas holidays for the first time since the onset of the pandemic and airlines struggle to fill staffing shortages.
“Pent up demand” is leading to an airline booking surge, explained Olivier Jankovec, Director General of Airlines Council International Europe
“At the moment, the performance of passenger traffic is trending along our high-case optimistic scenario on the back of travel restrictions lifting across many markets,” he said.
According to ACI modelling, delays and cancellations are inevitable at two thirds of European airports this summer.