Dublin Airport's queuing system works smoothly but the situation is "sensitive", says DAA

Dublin Airport’s queuing system works smoothly but the situation is “sensitive”, says DAA

The situation at Dublin Airport is “sensitive” and management continues to hire security personnel as quickly as they can to avoid canceling flights in the coming weeks, the CEO of the Dublin Airport Authority has said.

Dalton Philips also said that 200 additional security officials have been recruited so far, but they still need to hire another hundred.

“We are in a very sensitive situation because when you are down to the number of officers you need like last weekend, you can get a very fast build-up of queues. We are in a very tight situation,” Philips told RTÉs News at One.

There were no major delays at the airport on Friday with the measures taken to alleviate previous problems that worked smoothly and most passengers get from the door to Terminal 1 through the security check in less than 30 minutes.

The busiest period in the morning was between 05:00 and 06:00, but according to Kevin Cullinane, head of communications at DAA, the authority that operates the airport, people were treated in no more than 45 minutes even when the passenger numbers were high.

Covers have been installed outside the terminals to receive hundreds of passengers with those who had bags to check in directed to one entrance and those with hand luggage directed only to another.

Cullinane told The Irish Times that the authority would continue to monitor and adjust the new measures taken to speed up the flow of passengers through the airport over the weekend and he expressed cautious optimism that last weekend’s chaotic scenes would not be repeated over the holiday.

Most passengers who came through the airport for the first wave of departures on what will be the busiest weekend since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago, adhered to the rules and arrived in a window of no more than two and a half hour for short-haul flights.

Everyone who spoke to The Irish Times on Friday morning expressed enormous relief that the queues they had feared would ruin the start of their journey had not existed. Inside the terminal building, there was an air of relative calm with the only queues at the bags for airlines such as Air Canada, British Airways and Aer France.

Early morning departures on Friday have gone well and the queue times were in the order of 10 minutes at terminal 1 and 15 minutes at terminal 2 just after 08.00.

With about 328 departures from the airport scheduled for Friday, the day started well with queues that moved well during the peak period 06: 00-07: 00 when 36 flights left the airport, without any major problems. The next peak is between 13.00 and 14.00 when 21 flights will take off, followed by an evening stop with 25 flights taking off between 19.00 and 20.00.

The airport authority has made changes to the passengers’ approaches to Terminal 1, where the departure route is now closed to all traffic. This has created space for a tent to be used to protect passengers from rain should the queues have to extend outside the terminal building. A new drop-off area has been created in front of the Atrium building – which links the bus and bus fleet to terminal 1.

All parking buses will now stop in the area near Terminal two, with passengers for Terminal 1 going to the entrance to the Atrium Building which will be used to access the departure area.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Ireland’s reputation could “recover” from all the damage caused by the chaos last weekend, adding that what happened was “unacceptable”.

but ended by saying that there should be consequences for the management of the airport operator DAA if there is a repetition of the delays for passengers.

Speaking in Dublin at the annual congress of the Alde, Fianna Fáil’s political grouping in Europe, Martin concluded by saying that there should be consequences for the management of the airport operator DAA if the delays for passengers are repeated.

He said there will be “changes anyway” regarding the role of CEO, a reference to Philip Dalton’s impending resignation from the job to go to Greencore.

Martin said that “serious questions” must be asked about what happened and “serious lessons must be learned.”

He added: “Right now the focus must be on correcting and ensuring that Dublin Airport performs according to previous standards in terms of both number and volume … [passengers] that it can receive on an ongoing basis and also … the treatment of its workers as well, with regard to the various wage issues. “

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