MADRID - Long lines at the Madrid Barajas Airport in recent weeks should ease as the Spanish police work on hiring more staff to deal with the surge in tourism from the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the government said on Tuesday.
With the 200 new hires, a total of more than 600 officials will work at the airport to control the flow of foreign tourists that has increased markedly in the past weeks, Spain's government spokesperson, Isabel Rodriguez, told reporters during a news conference following the weekly cabinet meeting.
She added the country's other airports with an increase in tourists would also get more staff.
The long lines in Madrid are similar to problems at airports in Britain, Amsterdam and elsewhere in Europe due to travel resuming as the pandemic eases.
International Airlines Group's Spanish unit Iberia complained on Monday about delays and chaos at Madrid's Barajas Airport passport control and said around 15,000 of its passengers missed their flight since March 1.
Spanish Interior Ministry denied anyone had missed a flight at the airport, which is operated by Aena SME.
"In recent months the National Police has not registered a single complaint for missed flights," the ministry said in a statement.
"There are no queues or delays that go beyond punctual situations generated by the coincidence of several flights from outside the Schengen area," the statement said.
People from within the Schengen area, a group of 26 European countries, which includes Spain, can travel freely without presenting passports.
According to the Interior Ministry, around 18.7 million travellers will transit Madrid's Airport in June this year.
(Reporting by Christina Thykjaer and Inti Landauro; Editing by Louise Heavens and Lisa Shumaker)