Dublin radar capacity to be reduced until next week


Dublin airport’s radar system will operate at a reduced capacity over the weekend and for part of next week, the Irish Aviation Authority said this afternoon.

However, the IAA said it hoped delays would not be as severe as they were over the last number of days. The radar system broke down on Wednesday, causing chaos for thousands of passengers at one of the busiest times of the year.

The system was shut down completely for a time on Wednesday and is now only operating at 80 per cent capacity. Twenty arrivals and 20 departures are passing through Dublin airport every hour, and not the maximum of 25.

Teams have engineers have been working on the air traffic control system for about a week. The problem meant that controllers lost some functionality on their screens meaning they were unable to see the labels attached to 'blips' that signify individual aircraft.

“The investigation is not complete and I don’t think we’ll be moving any higher until we get that,” IAA spokeswoman Lilian Cassin told The Irish Timesthis afternoon. She said a report on the faulty radar was not due until the middle of the week at the earliest.

“It is likely there will be delays but we’re hoping they won’t be very significant,” Ms Cassin said. Although the radar system would be operating at 80 per cent capacity it didn’t always operate at 100 per cent, she added.

Flight delays are continuing at Dublin airport today but are not as severe as those of the past two days following problems with the air traffic control system.

Nearly all flights scheduled to arrive this morning are suffering delays, although these are generally between 15 and 45 minutes.

Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey has said he was seeking a full report from the IAA on the incident.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Dempsey told the Dáil he has ordered an urgent report from the IAA, but he criticised the lack of information available to passengers.

“Information should have been more forthcoming to passengers, who should have known the possible length of the delay,” he said.

The Minister added: “The computer system is in place for five years and it cost €115 million. A back-up system would cost the same amount. It is one of the most sophisticated and state-of-the art systems.”