Arrive at ‘busy’ Dublin Airport with time to spare, cautions Varadkar

‘Airport experiencing traffic volumes 30% higher than anticipated and are short 300 staff’

Dublin Airport will be "very busy for the next couple of weekends, particularly the Easter weekend", said Tánaiste Leo Varadkar on Friday.

Mr Varadkar advised people to turn up two hours in advance if flying within Europe and three hours if flying long haul. "The airport is seeing traffic volumes 30 per cent higher than they anticipated and they're short of about 300 staff members and also because of regulatory issues the number of bags they have to check has been increased. So there's a number of factors at play here," he said.

The airport is "working to hire more staff, get them trained and cleared very quickly, looking for some flexibility from the European Commission particularly when queues get long".

At Terminal 1 on Friday afternoon, Mark Farnan was flying with friends to Birmingham, and from there on to Liverpool to see a football match.

He arrived at 2pm though his flight was not due to take off until 5pm.

Farnan travels “every second or third week to go to matches” and usually only arrives within an hour or less to get through the airport but it has been “much busier recently”, he said.

“My daughter was here yesterday and said it was bedlam, she said it took her over an hour just to get through the fast track. It’s not as bad today, I was here a couple of weeks ago and I had to ask if I could jump the queue to go through because I would have missed my flight,” said Farnan.

Brothers Ryan and Glen Garbutt also arrived three hours before their flight to Berlin.

"I've missed flights before and had to pay for new ones but that's because I wouldn't normally arrive early. I'd normally be here a half hour before. But you're better safe than sorry," said Ryan Garbutt.

‘We came early’

Megan Duggan and partner Bernard were going to Rome with their two children. The family would go on "a lot of city breaks" throughout the year "but usually come last minute. We read about the queues . . . so we came earlier," said Duggan.

Viktoria Kulikova said the queues were "much longer" in December at Dublin Airport compared to Friday afternoon. Kulikova was going on a three-week trip to Latvia, Estonia and Sweden with her husband and daughter.

“I was worried about missing my flight . . . but it’s not too bad today,” she said.

Earlier this week, Ryanair and several other Irish airlines called on the Department of Transport to have an early meeting of the National Air Transport Facilitation Committee to urgently address the situation and provide solutions to the security queues at Dublin Airport.

Ryanair believes long queues will occur again this weekend and over next week’s Easter school holidays. The airline said it was “deeply disappointed” that the Department rejected the request to hold an urgent committee meeting.

"Ryanair and other Dublin Airport customers cannot endure more weekends where thousands of customers suffer queue delays of one or two hours, causing many to miss their scheduled flights. The Department of Transport must take responsibility for helping the Dublin Airport Authority to solve this short-term staffing problem."