Leaving Dublin Airport passengers in ‘holding pens’ not a long-term solution, says Minister

Simon Harris said travellers have a 'right to be treated with respect and dignity' as they go through the airport
Leaving Dublin Airport passengers in ‘holding pens’ not a long-term solution, says Minister

Olivia Kelleher

Leaving Dublin Airport passengers outside in “holding pens” is not a long-term solution to issues facing the airport during busy periods, a Government Minister has said.

Minister for Further Education Simon Harris said travellers have a "right to be treated with respect and dignity" as they go through the airport.

It comes after airport operator Daa announced a plan to place passengers who arrive early for their flights in a holding area if the airport's terminals become too busy.

"No it is certainly not (a solution),” Mr Harris told RTÉ Radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show when asked about the plan.

“Let's see what all this looks like in operation. It is really important that this plan works this weekend.

“But it is important that those who have a job - one job to get people on flights on time - do that job."

Mr Harris expressed his confidence in Daa management despite the "farcical" situation witnessed at the airport last weekend.

'Get their act together'

However, he stressed the Daa had now had a week "to get their act together" to rectify the situation and said further disruption to passengers, along with embarrassment and damage to Ireland's reputation, must be avoided.

"The proof will be in the pudding this weekend. I am not writing any blank cheques of assurance for Daa management,” he said.

“I am pleased they have a plan. It is up to the well-paid management of a large international airport to do their job and their job is a straightforward one. It is getting people on flights.

“I do (have confidence in Daa management). But this weekend will be the proof of the pudding. It is really important that this weekend we do not see a repeat of what we saw last weekend.

“I fully accept that the airport is busy. I fully accept that this is not just unique to Ireland. That we have seen a big increase in airport travel quite quickly and quicker than predicted. But what happened last weekend was farcical."

It comes as Daa spokesman Graeme McQueen this morning said he is “confident” that last weekend's chaos, which saw more than 1,000 passengers miss their flights due to lengthy queues, will not be repeated.

Busy periods

Mr McQueen also defended plans to place passengers who arrive early for their flights in a holding area, emphasising this would only occur during exceptionally busy periods.

“We’re encouraging people only to turn up two and a half hours before a short-haul flight, three and a half hours before a long-haul flight,” he said.

“If you try and come too early and the airport is really, really busy, we’re creating a zone at the airport where we will ask you to wait for a period of time in order to allow the people who are flying out earlier to get through the airport.

“You’ll be held back for a while but that will be a comfortable space, and eventually when your time comes we’ll get you through the airport, through security.”

Mr McQueen also urged passengers checking in a bag at the airport this weekend to add an additional hour to their recommended arrival time.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more