Dublin Airport has said “the requirement for enhanced background checks” is responsible for the huge queues that have caused many people to miss their flights.
During the pandemic over 1,000 members of staff took voluntary redundancy as international travel plummeted and the airport’s recruitment drive is taking longer than anticipated.
“Over 100 new security staff have been recruited since the start of the year but there have been delays in bringing some of these people into the operation because of the requirement for enhanced background checks for aviation workers which came into effect on January 1,” a spokesman told Newstalk.
“This log jam is now easing, and we hope that more new staff can begin working on the frontline in the coming weeks.
“In the meantime, we appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers as we work to restore customer service levels to what was the norm in 2019.”
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One customer, Michelle, who was travelling from Dublin to Edinburgh said that she had never experienced anything like it before:
“So we arrived just after six o’clock for a twenty past nine flight and I’ve never seen anything like the carnage,” she told Lunchtime Live.
“Absolute unorganised chaos; I was just so taken aback by how long the queue was.
“The only thing staff did do, was they were handing out bottles of water because the heat was absolutely unbearable.”
Journalist Alan Cantwell was one of many who missed his flight and he said the experience had been hugely upsetting for many people.
“I was one of many people who missed flights yesterday,” Mr Cantwell said.
“When they say get to the airport early I would use the caveat to get there very, very early.
“Some of the scenes I witnessed yesterday were extraordinary. I think I probably referred to it in my tweet as the bunfight of the century - it was something akin to that.”
— Alan Cantwell (@alanrantwell) March 27, 2022
“What did concern me to be honest with you, was a lack of organisation. There were one or two people directing individuals in the queue, there were people jumping the queue, there were clearly distressed people in the queue that were going to miss their flights.
“Tempers were flaring to a certain extent. Now I don’t blame the staff who were on the ground there because clearly there weren’t enough members of staff trying to deal with the situation - that’s not their fault.
“That’s an abject failure, I think, on the part of management who didn’t anticipate… what the implications were of lifting the flight bans and the requirements of people travelling through airports.”
Dublin Airport said in a statement:
“Anyone travelling through Dublin Airport in the coming days and weeks should be prepared for things to take longer than they might expect.
“To minimise the impact, we encourage all passengers to check-in bags where they can and to carry the minimum amount with them when presenting at security.
“We would also encourage all passengers to be at the airport a minimum of 2 hours before boarding a short-haul flight and 3 hours before boarding a long-haul flight.”
Main image: Passengers queue at Dublin Airport, 23-11-2021. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov