Dublin Airport has reported “significant improvements” to passenger experience in June after lengthy security queues in late May made national headlines.
Airport operator DAA said measures to manage a summer rebound in travel were having the “desired result”, with the “vast majority” of passengers now moving through security screening in under 45 minutes.
The operator added it has “increasing confidence, that other than Covid risks, we are now in a much more robust position to manage peak summer traffic over the coming weeks.”
Deployment of the army, slated to be on standby in the case of security staff shortages, is a contingency plan currently not envisaged other than in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak.
However, issues at the airport are persisting with sporadic delays at check-in desks and bag drops, while a recent spate of flight cancellations left the travel plans of many in ruins.
DAA said these issues are owed to staffing challenges facing the aviation supply chain across airlines, ground handling companies and third-party contractors, which are “outside DAA’s remit”.
“A spike in Covid-19 cases resulted in some airlines and baggage handling crews being short of staff, resulting in flight cancellations and delays at airline check-in desks and bag drop areas,” it said.
“Whereas issues relating to flight cancellations and delayed or lost luggage are outside DAA’s remit, we empathise with those affected and regret the impact this is having on their passenger experience.”
Amid reports of long queues for food and complaints of unhygienic conditions, DAA said retail and cleaning contractors had been impacted by similar staffing challenges, while its own cleaning staff had been supporting security operations over the past month.
It said improving the cleanliness of the airport was “a priority”, with a taskforce now assigned to cleaning duties in key passenger areas and washrooms “a key focus with preventative maintenance resources deployed.”
DAA said almost one million passengers last month, representing 93 per cent of departures, spent 45 minutes or less queueing at the airport’s security screening areas, while 77 per cent queued for 30 minutes or less.
This was supported by a “near doubling” of the Dublin Airport’s security screening staffing, with staff levels now approaching 2019 levels, although passenger numbers remain more than a fifth below 2019 levels in the year to date.
The airport operator noted that there were continued risks to its smooth operation associated with a new summer wave of Covid-19.
DAA continued to urge all passengers to arrive at the airport 2.5 hours before a short-haul flight or 3.5 hours before a long-haul departure, allowing up to an additional hour if checking in a bag.
It said anyone who had been impacted by flight cancellations or who needed assistance with baggage tracing should contact their airline or the airline’s ground handling company.