By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has said he is “very concerned” that Dublin Airport may not have enough security staff for the Christmas period.
He made the comments during an appearance before the Oireachtas transport committee on Wednesday.
“We are concerned that there may be security shortages and staffing shortages this Christmas, and if they don’t recruit now in significant numbers that we may short again at Easter,” the Ryanair Group chief executive said.
“Now they tell us that they’re hiring, and they’re recruiting.
“They’re talking about putting in 3D scanners in the spring, but they’re talking actually about taking out existing lanes to put in 3D scanners which will reduce security capacity at Dublin Airport.
“If you’re going to put in 3D scanners, they need to be as additional lanes. They need less people taking stuff out of their pockets.”
It comes after airlines and airports across Europe came under pressure after they cut jobs during the depths of the Covid-19 crisis and as travel demand returned quickly after two years of pandemic restrictions.
During one May weekend, 1,400 people missed their flights out of Dublin Airport after people were left queuing at the security area for hours.
“To be fair to (former DAA chief executive) Dalton Phillips and his team, the management out there last summer, they threw labour at it, they got away with it by the skin of their teeth after a very poor March, April, May.
“But we’re not out of the woods yet, and we are very concerned about the Dublin Airport staffing this Christmas.
“They need to start recruiting now for Easter next year – on the seventh of April.
“We’re in dialogue with them, they have interim management in place, but we are concerned and put no stronger than that.”
The chair of the transport committee Kieran O’Donnell said he would write to Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) about whether they had sufficient staff for the upcoming Christmas and Easter periods.
In a statement to the PA news agency, the DAA said it “continues to recruit, as it has done continuously over the past 12 months, for a number of roles at Dublin Airport”.
“Our concerted recruitment campaign, including our recent jobs fair which attracted more than 800 potential candidates, is aimed at generating a strong pipeline of potential candidates for the roles we have available, enabling us to meet both the current and future needs of the business.”