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The Irish Travel Agents Association is advising passengers to get to the airport earlier as European holidaymakers face longer delays at key resorts.

The advice comes amid reports of serious congestion at airports on the continent, particularly in Spain and Portugal. The delays are being blamed on tighter passport and security checks following terror attacks over the past months.

“We’re getting feedback from our travelling clients that there are issues out there, particularly in places like Malaga, Palma, Barcelona, Faro, among other areas, but they seem to be the key areas,” ITAA President Cormac Meehan told Travel Extra.

“There are a number of issues feeding those delays. First of all is seasonality – it’s peak season anyway, but a lot of that North African traffic has been displaced back toward the Spanish and Portuguese resort,” he said, referring to terror attacks in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia which have pushed holidaymakers to destinations closer to home.

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“There are about 20pc more Germans going to the Spanish resorts than last year. Another statistic I got from ABTA today is that 190,000 people travelled through Palma last Saturday.”

He said passengers can help the situation themselves: “We’re advising our clients to get to the airport that bit earlier. Traditionally they’d allow two hours to get through the airport – why not three? To arrive late an airport and still have to check in contributory negligence almost.”

And the ITAA President said the trade is on-message with that advice: “We did a quick poll around agents and they are very alert to it and so are their front-counter staff. They are advising at least a three-hour check-in.”

Despite complaints on social media about queues here at home, Mr Meehan said the situation is more critical abroad in resort airports, but there is no room for complacency as passenger figures head towards the 30m-a-year mark.

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“Dublin is one of the most successful airports in Europe and the growth there has been phenomenal. We have made comments about the resources at Dublin before and our message is to encourage the Government to put more resources in so that the service that is provided will continue to be provided at the highest possible level that reflects the airport’s important in Europe.”

A spokesman for the DAA said that Dublin Airport is coping well time-wise with the peak season rush. “Departures are 10pc better than last year, arrivals are 12pc better than last year. We know from the airlines that in a typical month only about 10-15pc of delays at Dublin are due to issues at Dublin.”

He said that this is despite passenger numbers being up 6pc in the first half of the year – 800,000 more in total, adding: “We’re investing €100m per year to upgrade facilities here.”

 

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