Travel chaos for Irish holidaymakers when expert issues airport warning

Travel chaos for Irish holidaymakers when expert issues airport warning

Irish holidaymakers are facing a summer of discontent with thousands of flights canceled and huge queues at airports, with an expert warning: “Chaos is unpredictable”.

It emerged yesterday that hundreds of employees and unions at airports across Europe have called for strikes, which has resulted in airlines being forced to cancel their flights.

The Dublin Airport Authority last night admitted that there will be big challenges during the summer.

Read more: Dramatic turnaround in the Dublin bride’s wedding day after the dress disappeared at the airport

Travel expert Eoghan Corry said all problems abroad will affect Ireland and added the problems Dublin Airport was far from resolved.

He said: “Dublin Airport is still an accident waiting to happen. Although we have not missed flights, we have security queues and an hour’s check-in, which is far too long.

“The problem there is that everything is drawn out, so I do not know how anything can be avoided because we do not have staff yet.”

Corry said it would also be a problem for airlines to ensure that all their flights could leave Ireland for European destinations.

He added: “While Aer Lingus and Ryanair are the major carriers, everything will be pressured regardless. British Airways made the right call by reducing its summer schedule by 20%.

“They did it early in the day, they saw the lack of staff and made the decision to do this, and that was the right thing to do. They have fewer summer flights, the number is significantly lower than what was proposed.

“But every single airline is facing this issue. There were scary images of major baggage problems at Heathrow last Friday.

Read more: Dublin Airport ground vehicles caught fire with smoke seen from the M50

Luggage handling and delays and lost bags; these are questions that are happening around us. It is without a doubt a summer when everything is scaled down, because we scaled down for Covid and everyone has to scale up again and the numbers that return to flying are a little higher and not what we expected.

“It’s enough to burden the airlines. The chaos is unpredictable.

“You could end up in an hour’s queue at a Spanish airport at immigration, which will be a lesser problem for Ireland than the UK because of Brexit, but these are the things that haunt. There is no way to avoid this.

“We are facing a very challenging summer for aviation and we can just as well get used to it.”

Seven Ryanair unions in Italy, France, Portugal, Belgium and Spain are warning of a strike by cabin crew.

While the Portuguese and Spanish cabin crew have already announced a strike in late June and July. Spanish police are employing 500 people at Madrid and Barcelona airports.

There is a shortage of 2,000 workers in Germany, while one of Europe’s busiest airports, Schiphol, has agreed to pay 15,000 cleaners, baggage handlers and security € 5.25 extra per hour.

Their staff decreased from 68,000 to 58,000 since Covid. Kevin Cullinane, the DAA group’s communications manager, said last night that the latest measures introduced at the airport have worked well.

Read more: Ryanair’s strike could affect flights to Spain, Portugal and France this summer

He added: “We continue to advise passengers traveling in the coming weeks to arrive at Dublin Airport 2.5 hours before a short-haul flight and 3.5 hours before a long-haul flight.

“Those who check in a bag are advised to wait for up to an extra hour if they can by checking with their airline.”

But Mr Cullinane acknowledged that airports in Europe, the UK, the US and beyond are trying to handle the faster recovery of travel.

He added: “We note the decision taken by some airports in Europe and the UK to cancel flights.

“DAA is committed to avoiding such measures at Dublin Airport and we are still fully committed to ensuring that we get our staff level and operations where they need to be to cope with rising passenger numbers.”

Aer Lingus said last night that last autumn they announced their plan to “restore capacity to over 90% of the 2019 levels at the summer peak”.

It added: “Since then, we have put considerable planning and effort into delivering that ambition, including appropriate recruitment and resources. Things within our control work well, but unfortunately put the problems beyond our control – such as services provided by airports and third-party suppliers – increased levels of disruption to our service.

“Staff shortages and problems with the supply chain at Dublin and other European airports and among third-party suppliers sometimes lead to our customers experiencing a service level that is lower than they expect.

“We want to assure our customers that we work close to all airports and third-party providers to address these challenges as efficiently as possible.”

Read more: Ryanair strike warning for Spain as six dates are announced for the summer

Read more: ALSAA receives a one-year license extension after a dispute with Dublin Airport


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