More than 3,000 passengers miss Christmas flights at Frankfurt airport after waiting for 90 minutes at security

The busiest weekend for Christmas travel saw thousands of passengers miss their flights from Frankfurt after waiting up to an hour and a half at security.

Saturday 22 December was one of the busiest days of the year for the German transport hub, with an extra 50,000 people passing through compared to a normal weekend.

The peak period at Terminal 1 was before 12pm, according to Fraport, which runs the airport.

“We experienced a strong day on Saturday because the German Christmas vacation started – there were 200,000 passengers on that day, way above what we usually have,” Dieter Hulick, spokesperson for airside and terminal operations, told The Independent. “There were lines, there were long waiting times. 

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“We’re all unhappy with that situation. We constantly work together with our partners – airlines, border police – to relieve the situation on peak days.” 

He said that the airport will be opening new lanes in summer 2019 and that German border police are testing two new lanes with more advanced technology.

“Staffing is also an issue, but we’re constantly recruiting new personnel so we’re tackling it as well,” he added.

Airline Lufthansa was unimpressed by the situation, claiming that 88 of its flights were delayed due to the queues. Long wait times meant passengers couldn’t reach the gate in time and their bags had to be found and removed from the aircraft, holding up departures.

“On the fourth Advent weekend, major quality problems became apparent at Frankfurt Airport once again,” Dr Detlef Kayser, a member of Lufthansa’s executive board, said in a statement. “Three thousand passengers missed their departures due to the long waiting times at the security checkpoints. At peak times, the system is obviously overloaded. 

“These problems must be urgently solved in the coming year in cooperation with the Federal Police and Fraport.”

Lufthansa confirmed that all affected passengers have since been rebooked.

The incident came after flights to and from London Gatwick were severely disrupted for three days last week due to reported drone activity over the airfield. Some 150,000 travellers had their plans wrecked, with all flights grounded on Thursday 20 December, one of the busiest flying days. Things were largely back to normal at Europe’s busiest runway by Sunday.

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