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Taxi drivers blockade Stockholm airport

Independent taxi drivers have blocked road routes in and out of Stockholm's main Arlanda airport in protest against new taxi system regulations introduced by the Civil Aviation Authority (Luftfartsverket - LFV).

Taxi drivers blockade Stockholm airport

No cars or buses are able to get into or depart from the airport terminals which is the main hub for the Stockholm region.

“There remains a problem on road routes – all of the taxi ranks and routes into the terminals remain blocked,” Anders Bredfell, press spokesperson at Arlanda Airport, told The Local at 11.30am on Thursday.

Arlanda has classified the protest as illegal and has thus handed over the matter to the police.

“As Arlanda Airport is a protected area this is an illegal, criminal activity and our regulations stipulate that it is thus a police matter,” Bredfell said.

Bredfell told The Local that it is still possible to access most of the airport by car and bus, and said that train services were running as normal.

“It is mostly affecting those wanting to leave the airport. But for all concerned I would recommend that you allow extra time,” he said.

The Swedish Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket) ruled on March 17th not to investigate a complaint from independent taxi drivers over the new queue system scheduled for introduction by LFV on Tuesday.

The conflict between the taxi firms and LFV is part of a long running dispute.

The Competition Authority ruled on October 23rd 2009 that LFV should hold off on plans to change the taxi rank system at the airport. LFV then returned with a revised plan which has now been deemed acceptable by the Authority but has incurred the wrath of independent drivers who allege that the major firms are being favouritised.

The new plan divides the taxi firms into seven queues with Stockholm Transfer and Airport Cab, Taxi Kurir, Taxi 020 and Norrbilar all being given a queue each, with Taxi Stockholm getting two. All the remaining independent taxi drivers are assigned to the seventh line.

“While we are not in any participating in the blockade, we have a certain degree of understanding for the protesters – it is their livelihood that is at stake,” Michael Chalkiadakis at Stockholm Transfer told The Local on Thursday.

Stockholm Transfer argues that it is LFV which has not accepted the decision by the competition authority, has appealed a market court decision, and is now awaiting that appeal.

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TRAVEL NEWS

EXPLAINED: What can I do if I miss my flight due to Sweden’s airport chaos?

Stockholm Arlanda Airport is once again suffering hour-long queues for security due to a surge in travel and personnel shortages. What can you do if you miss your flight?

EXPLAINED: What can I do if I miss my flight due to Sweden's airport chaos?

What’s the situation at Arlanda over the Ascension Day weekend? 

According to the airport operator Svedavia, the worst peak for the long weekend is probably over. “Today looks good with no long waiting time at Arlanda,” Ellen Laurin, the company’s press officer, told The Local on Friday. “Yesterday morning [Thusday], we had a morning peak before nine in the morning, and the rest of the day was OK.” 

According to Swedavia’s website, waiting times at security were less than five minutes on Friday morning.  

However, she warned that there could once again be big queues on Sunday when those who have travelled to Sweden over the long weekend make their way home. 

“Sunday is a big travel day when people will fly home again. There could be queues at peak times,” she said. “We recommend that passengers have a close contact with their airline for information about their flight. It is important to have extra time at the airport and to be prepared.  

READ ALSO: What’s behind the queues at Arlanda Airport? 

Which airports in other countries have problems? 

Arlanda is not the only airport facing problems due to delays staffing up again after the pandemic. On Friday morning, Twitter users were complaining of two-hour queues at the border control at Heathrow Airport in the UK, while at the UK’s Manchester Airport, passengers were reporting queues for security of up to two hours on Thursday. 

Dublin Airport is also facing regular two-hour queues at security. Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport had a 1km security queue on Thursday, pushing the Dutch airline KLM to cancel flights. 

Can I get compensation or insurance payments if I missed my flight due to the queues? 

The SAS airline has already underlined that it is their customers’ responsibility to make sure that they arrive at the airport in sufficiently good time to make their flight. 

“To be certain you can come with us, you should be in good time, and if you are in good time, you will manage to get your flight,” she told state broadcaster SR. “It is always the customer’s responsibility to be on your way as early as is necessary.”

People who miss flights are also likely to struggle to get payouts from travel insurance, warned Gabriella Hallberg, an expert on travel insurance at the Swedish Consumers’ Insurance Bureau. 

“If you’re at the airport and are hit by security controls that take a very long time, they consider that it is the consumer themselves who have not planned their journey,” she told SR

She said that it might be possible to find an insurance company that is willing to insure against flights missed due to security queues. 

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