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New EU entry rules starting in 2024 could stop last-minute holiday bookings

by Staff

New travel rules set to come into force in 2024 could put a stop to last-minute holiday bookings, airline bosses fear. Flight operators have spoken out over the new Entry/Exit System for going to EU countries, saying it won’t permit late ticket sales that are a key part of their business.

The Entry/Exit System or EES will be an automated check for people every time they cross an EU border into any countries using the new system. It will register the person’s name, type of travel document, biometric data (fingerprints and captured facial images), and the date and place of entry and exit “in full respect of fundamental rights and data protection.”




Non-EU citizens – such as those in the UK – who do not need a visa to enter Europe for up to 90 days at a time will have their fingerprints and pictures taken the first time they cross a border. The system will store a combination of four fingerprints and your facial image. If you need a visa to enter the EU, the system will only store your facial image as your fingerprints will have already been registered as part of the visa application.

However, the key stumbling block for airlines is that they must get confirmation of the travel eligibility of passengers a minimum of 48 hours before a scheduled departure.

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EES was originally set to be introduced in 2022 but has been delayed twice and is thought to be starting in late 2024, sometime after the Paris Olympics end on August 11. According to some recent reports, Eurotunnel has said that ES will come into effect on October 6, 2024, but there has been no confirmation from the European Union at this point.

Ahead of the launch of the new measures, airlines have expressed concerns that confirmation of passenger eligibility is needed too early. No later than 48 hours before a flight, the airlines have to send verification inquiries to the EES system to find out whether those who have booked seats have an ‘OK’ or ‘NOT OK’ status.

Ryanair says this is too far in advance and will not allow it to sell last-minute flight tickets, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported. The airline is also asking EU officials to provide training to help airports adapt to the changes.

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