The freezing weather on Friday and Saturday morning meant that many planes had to be de-iced multiple times before they were safe to take off, leading to long delays and dozens of cancelled flights at Dublin Airport.
There was, however, better news on Sunday with only a handful of flights cancelled.
“The majority of first-wave departures from Dublin Airport on Sunday morning took off without any undue delays,” a spokesman for the DAA the authority which manages the airport, said.
[ Freezing weather leads to 143 flight cancellations and hazardous driving conditions ]
“Any delays were due to the volume of aircraft that had to be safely de-iced by the airlines and their ground-handling operators
The spokesman said Dublin Airport’s snow and ice teams worked overnight “to ensure all runways, taxiways and stands were fully operational as they have been for the past two days”.
He reminded passengers to arrive two hours prior to a short-haul flight and three hours before a long-haul flight, with additional time of up to one hour added if checking in a bag or needing to check-in with their airline at the airport. “With the extremely cold weather due to continue into the middle of next week, intending passengers should continue to check the status of their flight with their airline in advance of travel.”
One of the most significant issues that caused the disruption was the severity of freeze, which meant that the lasting impact of de-icing aircraft was reduced to 30 minutes and not the 90 minutes that carriers normally anticipate. The particularly cold weather meant that if an aircraft was de-iced at 4.30am and not due to take off until 6am it had to be de-iced again before 5.30am. “Usually, the airline would have 90 minutes of benefit but the night-time/early-morning sub-zero temperature of -5 degrees severely impacted the first wave of departures, which resulted in a knock-on impact for the rest of Friday and into Saturday morning,” an airport source said.
A Ryanair spokeswoman said that as result of slightly improved weather conditions on Sunday it was “experiencing only some very minor delays to our flights from Dublin Airport. While our teams are working hard to minimise any disruption caused to our customers as a result of the icy weather, which is entirely beyond our control.”
Aer Lingus, meanwhile, said it planned to operate the majority of flights as scheduled on Sunday but it was “experiencing challenges with our London Heathrow operation due to freezing fog conditions there. As a result, we have been forced to cancel some of our London Heathrow services today and we wish to advise customers travelling to London Heathrow to expect delays on the services that can operate.”