Further flights cancelled from Dublin Airport with Army now on standby

The Defence Forces are now on standby to help staff the airport in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak
Further flights cancelled from Dublin Airport with Army now on standby

Several flights from Dublin Airport were cancelled on Wednesday as the summer of strikes and staff shortages continues to affect Ireland's main international airport.

A total of 14 flights were cancelled to and from the airport – 10 of the flights were operated by Aer Lingus, two by Scandinavian airline SAS and two by KML.

The destinations included returns to Heathrow, Munich, Oslo and Amsterdam.

Aer Lingus previously blamed its cancellations on a rise in Covid infection levels among staff.

The latest wave of cancellations came as the Irish Army was put on standby from Wednesday to help in the event of staff shortages.

Last week, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan got clearance from Cabinet for Defence Forces personnel to be on standby to help staff the airport in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak. This measure is to be stood down in August when the busy holiday period has passed.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) issued an update on Monday to say that its plan for the summer surge has been effective, but that the Defence Forces remain on standby to help.

“The contingency plan now in place to train and have Defence Forces personnel on standby if we experience significant COVID-19-related absences in Security Operations remains prudent,” it said.

“The contingency involves the training of Defence Forces personnel for duties at the Vehicle Control Posts at Dublin Airport, only if they are needed. While they will be on standby, deployment of Defence Forces personnel would only be triggered if ultimately required due to a Covid-19 outbreak.”

The DAA said “significant improvements” made at the airport are “achieving their desired result” to alleviate pressure on the system amid a strong return to air travel.

The authority said that despite the vast majority of flights operating on time, a spike in Covid-19 cases resulted in some airlines and baggage handling crews being “short of staff”, leading to flight cancellations and delays at airline check-in desks and bag drop areas.

“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,” it said.

It added that baggage is an issue across Europe, the USA and Canada and that it is liaising with affected airlines about baggage issues.

The summer season has seen intense pressure on airlines and airports across Europe after they cut jobs during the depths of the Covid-19 crisis and as travel demand returns after two years of pandemic restrictions.

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