The weekend saw the cancelation of over 100 flights to and from Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, leaving thousands of travelers stuck in long lines at the airport.
According to the Portuguese aviation regulator, ANA, measures have been taken to assist airlines, such as more counters for rescheduling flights. The airlines’ lack of information about the disruption has also been criticized by passengers whose travel plans had already been derailed.
“They rescheduled our flight for after the departure of the cruise from Italy,” said one woman waiting with her family in the queues at Lisbon airport.
“We are desperate, there are elderly people and children. We’re trying to get a flight with a different airline so as not to miss the cruise.”
“It is the first time my husband is traveling to Brazil, he’s traumatized,” added another woman, reported Euronews.
The weekend’s delays have been attributed to a variety of issues. According to some sources, apparently, the main cause was a private jet that blew a tyre. Others accused TAP airlines, claiming that airports with fewer TAP flights, such as Faro, were not affected by the congestion this weekend, despite increased visitor numbers.
Amid chaotic scenes in Lisbon and other airports across Europe, Portuguese authorities on Monday unveiled a summer contingency plan for the country’s airports and promised an unprecedented number of passport control staff.
The contingency plan includes 55 additional border guards and 176 additional police officers trained in immigration procedures who will be assigned to passport control.
More electronic passport controls are also expected to be deployed this summer, along with additional support staff and better information services.
The proposal, according to the administration, is a response to the “exponential” increase in arrivals as a result of the wave of travel caused by the pandemic.
The strain on the airport in Lisbon has decreased, local media reported Monday.
The disruption was attributed by official Portuguese authorities to a number of factors, including an unexpected increase in travelers, cancelations in other European countries that had an impact on Portugal, and a staff shortage.