Dublin Airport: passengers face bottlenecks across the board

With companies struggling to hire, travellers face delays at check-in, security and other areas

Passengers face further Dublin Airport bottlenecks as baggage handlers and other businesses struggle to keep up with the post-Covid travel surge.

Dublin Airport warned travellers this week that security queues could take an hour or longer at peak times over the June bank holiday weekend.

Passengers could also face bottlenecks in areas such as baggage check-in and drop-off as the businesses responsible for these services are short-staffed following two years of pandemic-driven cutbacks.

Travellers who have used the airport recently have complained about hold-ups in other areas, including bag check-in and drop-off, as there were not enough staff to keep up with demand.

Swissport, which provides check-in, baggage and ground-handling for many airlines at Dublin Airport, acknowledged that holiday travel was aggravating “resource challenges” across aviation.

“We are sorry for our part in the disruption people are experiencing,” the company added.

Swissport is seeking to recruit customer service and baggage check-in staff, warehouse workers, technicians and cleaners across its Irish operations. Globally the company has recruited 2,000 extra employees so far this year.

Dublin Airport operator DAA noted on Thursday that airlines and the companies that service them were responsible for check-in, bag drop and other facilities.

Earlier this year, airline Emirates deferred the relaunch of its second daily Dublin-Dubai flight to September from July, as the companies providing it with catering, ground-handling and other services could not guarantee they would have enough staff.

Enda Corneille, the Gulf carrier’s Ireland country manager, explained that staff hired by air travel service businesses had to clear background checks and complete training before they could work.

He noted that the service companies were certain they would have enough staff to support a second daily Emirates flight by September.

Aer Lingus said it had put “significant planning and effort”, including recruitment, into preparing for a rebound to 90 per cent of pre-Covid passenger numbers since autumn last year.

“Aer Lingus is confident that we are appropriately resourced to deliver our operation,” the airline said.

The company added it was essential that Dublin Airport facilitate airlines by providing the required standard of service to passengers.

Aer Lingus told passengers travelling from Dublin this weekend to ensure they get to the airport two and a half hours before the departure of short-haul flights, and three and a half hours before transatlantic journeys were due to take off.

Dublin Airport has given the same advice. The gateway expects almost 250,000 people to pass through over five days from Thursday to bank holiday Monday.

DAA chief executive Dalton Philips told politicians this week he was confident in its plans for the weekend. Delays at security last Sunday caused more than 1,000 passengers to miss flights.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas