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Summer holidays 2019: shorter queues despite more passengers

31 additional border police, better passenger management and more information

Since the queues for passport control were excessively long last year, EuroAirport wants to reduce significantly queuing times this summer season. In order to reach this goal, the number of border police has been increased by 31 while new guidance and information systems will help improve passenger management. EuroAirport is investing around one million euro to reduce waiting times this summer.

Since EuroAirport is located entirely on French territory, the decision by the French government to reintroduce internal border controls after the terrorist attacks in 2015 continues to be applicable. In concrete terms, this means that – in contrast to airports on Swiss territory – passport control is tighter, which takes longer. This affects all passengers, especially those arriving at EuroAirport, regardless of whether they are coming from a Schengen or non-Schengen country.
In the past, particularly during the holiday season, the stricter border controls have in some cases led to excessively long waiting times, particularly because the number of French border police who carry out the checks was limited throughout France, including at EuroAirport.

Shorter waiting times thanks to 31 additional border police and supplementary measures

While around 25,000 people use EuroAirport every day on a yearly average, the number rises to around 35,000 daily passengers during the holiday season. This summer, EuroAirport is expecting a passenger increase of almost 10 % compared to last year. At the same time, waiting times at the airport should be reduced, in particular on arrival.

As a primary proactive measure at the airport, the number of border police has been significantly increased by 31 officers. The French Border Police has provided an additional 27 officers and the Swiss Border Guard has supplied four extra officers. During test runs over the two holiday weekends (Ascension and Whitsun) in May and June, long queues were largely avoided despite more than 30,000 passengers travelling through the airport and waiting times of over 15 minutes were fairly exceptional. These good results will be reinforced this summer by newly designed control booths devised to make the passport control process more efficient and faster. The booths were developed in collaboration with the French and Swiss police.

Better passenger management as a result of increased staff, waiting areas and information technology

EuroAirport is also taking measures itself to optimize passenger management at the airport with the goal of minimizing bottlenecks. To coordinate the flow of passengers, four supervisors are now working in tandem with a team of temporary EuroAirport employees.  If congestion is expected to occur before the passport control checks, passengers will benefit from specially designed waiting areas thus enjoying more comfort. State-of-the-art screens and audio systems also provide important information both to passengers and to relatives and friends waiting in the arrivals pick-up zone. In order to reduce queues this summer, EuroAirport is investing a total of around one million euros in renovations and personnel.

10 automated passport control gates from 2020

Automated control gates will be used for passport control at EuroAirport as early as next year. This should further reduce the workload of the border police and increase the overall efficiency of border controls. Five automated control gates are planned for arrivals and five for departures and will be tailored to the special needs of EuroAirport. In a first phase, the automated passport control gates will be used by the French authorities, then equipped later for the Swiss officials.