This achievement is “in line with the best results recorded in Europe” – SEF boss
The maximum waiting time at Lisbon airport was reduced by one hour between May and September, from 1h50m to 50m in the four months of the contingency plan, the immigration and borders service (SEF) announced on Friday.
The contingency plan that was in place at air border crossings at Portuguese airports between June and September to cope with the increase in passengers during the summer period was assessed on Friday at the home affairs ministry (MAI) in Lisbon.
The national director of the SEF, Fernando Silva, clarified that the waiting times are recorded by ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal, the country’s airports manager.
Fernando Silva also said that the waiting time that served as a model and is recorded by ANA “is the maximum waiting time that a passenger each day waits at border control”.
“In May this year, the maximum time a passenger waited at Lisbon airport was one hour and 50 minutes. It was possible to reduce it between June and September to 50 minutes,” he said, stressing that the achievement is “in line with the best results recorded in Europe.”
Between June and September, the SEF checked 7.2 million passengers on arrivals and departures, most of them from the United Kingdom, Portugal, Brazil and Ireland.
The SEF contingency plan for Portuguese airports during the summer months included a set of measures that began to be implemented in June and gradually came into force until the beginning of July.
Among the measures was a reinforcement of 200 inspectors and 168 PSP police officers and several technological and operational solutions.
The SEF director also said that, in four months, 610 people were prevented from entering the country, 158 were detained at border crossings, most of them for using false documentation or without an entry visa, and 211 requests for asylum were made, numbers that have increased compared to previous years.
Also present at the ceremony, the chairman of the Board of Directors of ANA, José Luís Arnaut, gave a positive assessment of the plan, stressing that the difficulties arose because there was a higher than expected flow of tourism, but that they were overcome.
“The efforts of the SEF and PSP made it possible that, with booths manned from early morning to late evening, the infrastructure could cope with the flows of passengers,” he said, appealing for planning for the summer of 2023.