A no-deal Brexit threatens chaos for Brits at EU borders, a senior industry figure warned this week as MPs debated ways to break the logjam on Britain’s exit.
Tom Jenkins, chief executive of European travel association Etoa, said: “There will be problems in any country receiving UK flights if member states do what they are supposed to do and impose [passport] checks that run 60‑90 seconds longer than now.”
The EU has made clear it will require member states to treat UK arrivals as if from “third countries” if Britain leaves with no deal.
Jenkins said: “If you have aircraft [landing] every five to 10 or 20-30 minutes, arrivals will soon back up spectacularly.” He said preventing a backlog at airports would “require EU members to ignore all the rules for arrivals from third countries, which Britain helped draft”.
However, he suggested: “Most places will be pragmatic. Airports can’t cope with 20,000 people standing in arrivals.”
The government of Portugal has already said it would welcome UK tourists post-Brexit and avoid queues at its borders. Portugal proposes dedicated passport-control areas and lanes for UK visitors and plans a ‘Brelcome’ marketing campaign in the UK in March. It will also guarantee UK visitors the use of Portugal’s health service if Britain falls out of the European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) system.
Cox & Kings chief commercial officer Patrick Richards said: “We’re in a kind of phoney war and uncertainty is the issue. Politicians don’t seem to get the message that their decisions are amplified in the media and on social media.”
Thomas Cook is highlighting a ‘Brexit Price Guarantee’ in some of its agencies and has a dedicated page to address Brexit-related questions on its website.
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