7 MARCH 2016
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A collapse of Europe's 26-nation Schengen zone of passport-free travel would create major congestion and cost larger airports hundreds of millions of Euros to redesign terminals, according to ACI (Airports Council International).
The Schengen zone, which includes non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, has come under increasing strain due to the refugee crisis, with several countries imposing temporary border checks.
Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe, said that while it was not on the cards, any moves to reinstate air border controls between Schengen states would have a drastic impact and that restructuring airport facilities could easily cost hundreds of millions of Euros for the largest airports. Airports such as Warsaw, are already under strain with British and Irish passengers having to queue with the mass of east European non-EU passengers.
ACI said that there are around 443 airports located within the Schengen zone, used by around 1.2 billion people in 2015.
"The immediate impact would be unprecedented levels of congestion and flight disruptions, with potential spillover effects across the entire European airport network," Jankovec said in a statement.
It would also lead to longer travel times because airports would no longer be able to guarantee connection times between flights, he said. The shortest connections are about 45 minutes at present. www.aci-europe.org
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
John Baxter-Smith, England
Well we have had to put up with that Chaos for ever because our inept being outside Border Control authorities seem incapable of handling the volumes of passengers. Terminal 4 a coupoel fo weeks ago has queues miles long. With some flights from Amsterdam etc. mingling with overseas flights it was taking longer to get through passport control than the rest of the journey would have taken. Still no apology form the Border Police. For Gods sake make sure Schengen survives. I'm sure the rest of Europe don't want the sort of chaos we have to put up with.