Minister warns Dublin Airport bosses to resolve delays by Tuesday

Concern over delays at Dublin Airport have been growing ahead of the bank holiday weekend
Minister warns Dublin Airport bosses to resolve delays by Tuesday

Cate McCurry, PA

Dublin Airport bosses have been told to come up with solutions to resolve the lengthy delays faced by passengers by Tuesday morning.

Dublin Airport officials met with Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton to discuss the issue on Monday, with the pair raising the Government's “immense disappointment and frustration” by the scenes over the weekend, which led to over 1,000 passengers missing their flights.

Concern has been growing ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

On Sunday, Dublin Airport warned of “significant queues” for passengers at the country’s main airport.

Passengers were forced to queue outside the terminal, with people waiting up three hours to check in.

In a joint statement, Mr Ryan and Ms Naughton said: “The ministers said that the excessively long queues and wait times were causing significant distress to passengers as well as reputational damage to the country from a business, travel, connectivity and tourism point of view.

“The ministers have instructed DAA to report back by tomorrow morning on solutions that can be put in place in advance of this bank holiday weekend to deliver an acceptable passenger experience for citizens and visitors departing from the airport.

“The Ministers have asked DAA to consider all options that can be taken in immediate and medium term to resolve this matter.

“Daily meetings will be held at Ministerial level with DAA until the difficulties persisting at the airport are satisfactorily resolved.

“Minister Naughton emphasised that it is the responsibility of DAA to resolve these matters to the satisfaction of passengers travelling in the days and
weeks ahead.

 

“The Ministers stated that the unacceptable queues should not be repeated this Thursday and Friday and into the Bank Holiday weekend and that intending passengers should be confident that they would make their flight with minimum inconvenience.”

Ms Naughton also meet with airlines on Monday afternoon.

It has also been confirmed that DAA chief executive Dalton Philips will appear before the Oireachtas Transport Committee on Wednesday to discuss airport crisis.

My Ryan said that 1,000 people missing their flights was “totally unacceptable”.

“You can’t have thousands of people out queueing outside the terminal buildings,” Mr Ryan added.

“They have acknowledged that, they accepted it was a terrible failing and we have to address and they have to address it.

“It’s an operational issue for the airport, it’s a complex issue about a sudden very large increase in demand for people flying but at the same time real difficulty in getting the number of people, skilled workers, particularly in the scanning/screening area.

Coronavirus – Mon Jul 19, 2021
Passengers in Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport in the Republic of Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA)

“We said they have to deliver those solutions, they have to come back with options so that what happened doesn’t happen again.”

Mr Ryan said the reason for the delay was due to a shortage of key staff in key areas.

“Once you go over certain tipping point then queues does tend to back up, then it makes it more difficult to catch up,” he added.

“Whatever the reason, they have to make sure they are able to manage numbers.”

Officials pledged to try to compensate all passengers who have missed flights or had plans disrupted, if additional costs are incurred.

Mr Ryan said that while compensation was an issue for Dublin airport authority, they were aware that the reputational damage to the airport and country is “very real”.

“This has been issue they have been grappling with for many weeks” he added.

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