Long queues at the airport arrivals lounge should be drastically reduced "in the coming hours", the tourism minister has said, with more staff deployed to check passengers' COVID-19 paperwork.

Travellers have complained about waiting up to 90 minutes, in close proximity to each other, while COVID-19 vaccination certificates are checked upon their arrival in Malta, raising the obvious risk of infection. 

Malta International Airport has blamed the authorities for the situation, appealing for electronic scanning of documents. 

Minister pledges solution 'in coming hours'

Minister Clayton Bartolo said that the logistical issue will be addressed in "the coming hours" and desks at the airport will be tripled. 

“The tourism authorities, the airport and health authorities are in constant discussion to see how we can improve the situation at the airport to reduce the queues,” Bartolo said. 

“We know that there are a number of issues, mainly logistically issues which are being sorted out. In the coming days, we will see the number of desks operating at the arrivals (lounge) triple in number,” he said. 

He pointed out that the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) had issued a public call for people who will be deployed to check passengers’ COVID travel documentation when they land at the airport. Such ‘Passenger Facilitation Staff’ will be stationed before the luggage reclaim area to make sure all passengers have completed the passenger locator form and Health Declaration Form. 

“Arriving passengers who need to complete their forms will pass from one side, whilst others who have their documentation filled will go to the check-in desks,” he said.

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