THE new pickup and dropoff system at Malaga airport has sparked an outcry less than 24-hours after it came into operation.
Car rental companies are outraged after airport bosses turned their former collection area into a public car park with 300 spaces in front of terminals two and three.
Large queues of traffic were in evidence after the updated system was rolled out on Tuesday (May 16), with many drivers unsure where to go.
After three months of work, the new car park, with five entrance lanes and seven exits designed to reduce congestion, allows 15 minutes of free parking.
Should this limit be exceeded, drivers will have to pay a fee in order to exit, but security officers were forced to leave barriers open permanently on the first day of operation as hundreds of cars became gridlocked.
President of the Andalucian Car Rental Association (AECA), Felix Pinar, said: “Many customers called us scared that they would miss their flights, and some just dumped their cars anywhere because there was nobody to help them.
“This is unheard of for an airport like that of the Costa del Sol and I think we are projecting a very bad image.”
AECA believe that the rental firms should be given a specific area as before, rather than being forced to share the space with private vehicles.
Yolanda Callado, manager of the Vehicle Rental Business Association, added that the new system has caused “tremendous chaos” despite it being modelled on successful ventures in Alicante and Bilbao.
The criticism comes after the airport announced that 4.67 million travellers have used its facilities over the first four months of the year, a 15 per cent increase on 2016.
This represents the greatest growth among Spanish airports in 2017, with Alicante trailing in second on 14.7 per cent and El Prat in Barcelona a distant third on 8.9 per cent, as Malaga appears set to smash last year’s records.