The CA says the scenes at Dublin Airport “just aren’t good enough”, adding that authorities “appear to be unable to operate the airport”.
Long queues have been reported at the airport for the past week, with tales of passengers missing flights for waiting so long at security. Some reports describe security check waiting times of 90 minutes.
The competent authority said it had received a number of reports from customers who had missed flights due to security delays.
The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) is alerting people to security check delays due to staff shortages in the coming weeks as they seek to increase staffing levels in the wake of the pandemic.
“This is the same agency that introduces a fee to drop people off at the airport, but they can’t find the staff to get people through security on time. I call on the Secretary to take immediate action,” said Michael Kilcoyne, Chair of the CA.
“It’s just unacceptable what’s happening. The DAA, as I understand it, fired a lot of people over the last two years. It is a semi-public company that reports to the state. It’s just not good enough that the transport minister is letting things go on like this.
“It’s due to the lack of staff. If we can’t even arrange to get people through security at our airports, that doesn’t speak volumes for the country and says very little about the ultimate Department of Transportation.
“I would ask the minister to call the DAA and tell them it needs to be sorted out, very simple.
“People pay money to the airlines, which in turn pay the DAA, but they can’t provide the staff.
“They don’t seem to be able to run the airport. I don’t understand why our government just sits on their hands and doesn’t seem to do anything about it.”
Duncan Smith TD, spokesman for Labour’s Transport, said the DAA has consistently sought “to right-size its staff in its own words”.
“Well, it seems that the staffing level is not the right size to meet the demand of our capital’s airport,” he added.
“We need to ensure that the right staffing is provided as soon as possible. This requires the support of the Garda verification offices as I understand that many delays are due to staff verification delays.
“It is a real economic imperative that our airport functions professionally and efficiently from the traveler’s point of view.”
A spokesman for the DAA said the easing of Covid restrictions has resulted in a significant increase in the number of flights operated and “extremely hard work” is being done to increase staffing levels to meet demand.
“Recruiting, training and background security checks for all employees at an international airport takes several weeks. This is happening against the background of growing passenger numbers at Dublin Airport. This affects the time it takes passengers to get through security, especially at busy times.
“We apologize in advance but there will likely be queues for security at busy times in the coming days and weeks as we continue to bring trained staff on board. In the meantime, we are doing everything we can to ensure that our security operations are functioning at the maximum possible level at all times,” the spokesman said.
The DAA said it has hired 100 additional staff since the beginning of the year, but there have been delays in getting it up and running due to increased checks by security staff before they can begin work at the airport.
“After two years of lockdowns and restrictions, we see a strong pent-up demand for outbound travel. At Dublin Airport, we expect passenger numbers in 2022 to reach around 70 percent of the record 33 million we welcomed in 2019,” said a DAA spokesman.
“The recent period around St Patrick’s Day has been our busiest in three years, with up to 80,000 passengers passing through Dublin Airport every day.
“Signs suggest we are in for a busy summer and we expect passenger numbers at Dublin Airport could rise back up to 90 per cent of what we would have seen in the summer of 2019.
“In June, July and August 2019 we welcomed between 3 and 3.5 million passengers each month. That was significantly more than 2021, when combined passenger numbers for those three months totaled around 2.2 million.”
Air Lingus says the top five European destinations for summer sun are Malaga, Lanzarote, Faro, Nice and Naples, while the top European city breaks are Barcelona, Rome, Lisbon, Bilbao and Milan.
Aer Lingus will fly 14 direct routes between Ireland and North America including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Orlando, Washington, Seattle and Philadelphia.
The airline is also the only airline to offer direct flights between Ireland and the US West Coast.
Aer Lingus direct flights from Shannon to JFK and Boston have also resumed, with 14 flights per week from Shannon to the United States.
https://www.independent.ie/news/dublin-airport-delays-consumer-group-calls-on-minister-to-take-immediate-action-41495243.html Dublin Airport delays: Consumer group urges ministers to ‘take immediate action’