BRITISH holidaymakers travelling to Portugal have been warned to expect six-hour airport queues from Monday.
Around 3,000 sun-seeking Brits a day are due to jet to Portugal from Monday, after the country was placed on the government's Covid safe destination green list.
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But an airports chief warned Border Force problems meant passengers face "chaos" and "unacceptable" queues.
Portugal confirmed this week it will reopen its borders to UK tourists, defying an EU ban on non-essential travel, after days of uncertainty.
Airlines and tour operators have seen a surge in bookings, with 20 flights carrying British holidaymakers due to land in Portugal on Monday
But Baroness McGregor-Smith, who chairs the UK’s Airport Operators Association, said Border Force desks are being left unstaffed due to "government choices" that were leading to six-hour queues at airports.
She blasted Downing Street for “failure to manage the border properly” and not digitising Covid document checks to speed-up travel.
Writing in The Telegraph, the Tory peer said: “They have had months to improve and digitise the passenger locator form, but only now are the necessary improvements being discussed or trialled.
“The upgrades necessary to use ePassport gates again are slated to happen over the summer when passengers are filling border halls when it could have been done while international travel was banned. This is not good enough.
“The UK border experience has long been falling behind our global competitors, but the last year has shown how far behind we are.
They have had months to improve and digitise the passenger locator form, but only now are the necessary improvements being discussed or trialled
She added: "For a Government that says it wants to see a Global Britain to oversee the chaos."
Portugal is one one of just 12 countries on the Government's green list of overseas destinations.
More than 110 flights from the UK are heading to Portugal next week, with pandemic-weary Brits set to enjoy quarantine-free travel.
Ryanair has upped its Portugal capacity to 175,000 seats, with EasyJet adding 25,000 seats, to cope with demand.
Man City and Chelsea fans will be jetting in for the rearranged Champions League final in Porto on May 29.
Anyone arriving in Portugal from May 17 must have had a negative PCR Covid test result within 72 hours of departure.
Another PCR test must be taken after travellers fly back in the UK.
Brussels had advised EU members to keep its ban on non-essential travel throughout May.
But the UK's drop in Covid cases, and the boost to the economy brought by thousands of British tourists, has seen Portugal fling open its doors to UK travellers.
'EVERYTHING IS OPEN'
Portugal's secretary of state for tourism Rita Marques said today "everything is open" in her country.
But travellers will need to wear masks "indoors and outdoors" when going to restaurants.
Ms Marques told BBC Breakfast: "Restaurants and coffee shops and shops and everything is open as from May 1.
"Some restrictions apply, of course, so you have to wear a mask, you have to maintain social distancing."
She added: "Masks need to be used all day long, except when you are on the beach, of course.
"So if you are going to a restaurant near the beach you should wear a mask, but if you are near the sea you don't need to wear a mask."
Italy also lifted quarantine for arrivals from the UK — but the government is still warning families not to travel there.
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