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Dublin Airport ‘confident' that passengers will not miss flights this weekend

Lengthy queues outside Dublin Airport last weekend. Airport bosses have been told by the government to publish plans to manage the increase in traveller numbers this summer. Picture: RTÉ
Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Dublin Airport officials have said they are “confident” that passengers will not miss flights this weekend if they arrive at the airport at the recommended time.

It comes after Dublin Airport made international headlines last weekend after long queues stretched outside the airport terminals and over 1,000 people missed their flights.

Dalton Philips, CEO of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), told the Oireachtas Transport Authority yesterday that these delays happened due to a rostering error.

Mr Philips also conceded that the aviation sector had recovered quicker than had been anticipated, and that 248 security staff should not have been offered voluntary redundancy last year, during travel restrictions introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan today urged passengers to follow the advice from the airport and not to arrive too early for a flight.

Mr Ryan said he was “confident” people should be able to get through the airport with minimal difficulties in the days and weeks ahead.

He told the Dail: “It will be managed. People will get through, I’m confident this weekend and through this summer period. And if it doesn’t, then we’ll have to take further measures.

“There’ll be nothing avoided in terms of making sure that Irish passengers don’t have that uncertainty, don’t have that stress.”

Speaking on RTE Radio today, media relations manager with the DAA Graeme McQueen said that if people adhere to the recommended arrival times “we’re confident that we can get you through in plenty of time this weekend”.

Passengers are advised to arrive at least 2.5 hours before short-haul flight departures, and 3.5 hours before long-haul flights depart. An extra hour is needed if they are checking in a bag.

“What we’re trying to do here is get the flow of passengers back to the way we want it so that we can get people through in a nice orderly manner,” Mr McQueen said.

On Thursday morning, there was a steady stream of travellers through Dublin Airport ahead of the busy bank holiday weekend.

There was no sign of the lengthy queues of last weekend, with dozens of staff in purple jackets guiding passengers and fielding questions across both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

He said that it is currently taking under an hour for passengers to get through the terminal, with around 46,000 passengers expected to fly out on Thursday.

Mr McQueen said that holding zones for passengers that arrive before the recommended times would only “kick in if they absolutely have to” in order to ensure people did not miss flights.

“If we need, at really busy times, to segment people into holding zones, we will do that. We will either check your boarding card or your booking confirmation.

“We’re very very confident in the operation that we’ve got in place for this weekend that we’re going to get everyone through and that there will be no missed flights.”

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said there will have to be consequences for DAA if the scenes from last weekend are replicated in the days to come.

“I think a lot of people in this country are getting fed up of senior management hiding behind politicians when it comes to actually doing their job.

“People are paid to do services.

“You have a very simple job in DAA – get people on planes in time for their flight to take off. That’s the job. I’m not suggesting it hasn’t been challenging, of course it has.

“Not just in Ireland but across Europe, we’ve seen the increase in the number of people through airports significantly go up.”

He said he hoped the plan outlined by the DAA would work.

“I think the plan they have published looks to me to be robust, it looks to me to be sensible. But the implementation of that plan will be key.”

He continued: “If the plan isn’t delivered there will have to be consequences, but I’m not in that space.

“My constituents hoping to fly out this weekend just want to know they can get on their flight.”

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