Port of Dover Easter travel delays warning sparks fear of chaos at border
Holidaymakers have been warned they could face two-hour delays at the Port of Dover this Easter getaway weekend.
On Thursday night, ferry operator DFDS urged holidaymakers to “allow 120 minutes to complete border controls and check-in” at the Kent port over the busy bank holiday weekend.
It comes after chaotic scenes at the port last weekend when thousands of people were delayed, reportedly by up to 14 hours.
At one point on Thursday, there were queues of “approximately 90 minutes” for passport checks by French officials at the port as the Easter rush kicked off amid “high volumes of traffic”, DFDS said.
Delays at Dover have been blamed on French border officials carrying out extra checks and stamping UK passports following Brexit.
Port officials said they held an “urgent review” with ferry operators and the French authorities in an attempt to avoid a repeat of last weekend’s delays.
Ferry companies are asking coach operators booked on sailings on Good Friday – expected to be the busiest day for outbound Easter travel from Dover – to “spread the travel” across the three-day period from Thursday to Saturday.
A general strike in France in a row over pension reforms is also causing disruption.
About 400,000 people joined a protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms in Paris on Thursday, the French CGT union reportedly said.
Mr Macron’s bid to raise the national retirement age from 62 to 64 has sparked days of unrest, with reports of police firing tear gas and some protesters starting fires in Paris on Thursday.
Many flights to, from and over France have been grounded due to air traffic controllers joining the walkout.
British Airways axed at least 20 flights which would have used French airspace on Thursday.
Eurostar cancelled a train in both directions between London and Paris.
Protesters also blocked a road to terminal one of Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Flights were unaffected but many passengers were forced to walk to and from the terminal.
Meanwhile, UK drivers have been warned to expect long delays on popular routes over the coming days.
The RAC is predicting that up to 17 million leisure trips by car will take place between Good Friday and Easter Monday.
An estimated two million British holidaymakers are set to travel overseas during the long weekend, according to travel trade organisation Abta, which reported strong demand for trips to mainland Spain, the Canary and Balearic Islands, the Algarve, Madeira, Cyprus, Croatia, Italy, Greece and southern Turkey.