Lack of staff could disrupt travel out of Dublin Airport over the busy summer season, a trade union has predicted.
On three occasions in three weeks, planes have been temporarily unable to land as air traffic controllers took a break.
The situation was described by trade union Fórsa as “extraordinary” and spokesperson Niall Shanahan said it could happen again during the busy summer season.
“We’ve seen it once before and quite some time ago,” he said.
“It was 2008 where there were some similar stoppages and again staff shortages were the route of that particular problem at that time.
“As I recall, the Irish Aviation Authority undertook a significant recruitment programme not long afterwards.”
The issue is not unique to Ireland and some airlines in America have announced schedule cuts to certain routes in order to prevent delays.
“The closures do reflect an ongoing difficulty with the air navigation service,” Mr Shanahan said.
“It’s currently struggling with high traffic levels and very serious staff shortages [and] the shortage of air traffic control officers is not limited to Dublin or indeed to Ireland - it’s a global issue.”
The past year has at times been difficult for Dublin Airport; in spring 2022, hundreds of people missed their flights because of post-pandemic staff shortages.
While in recent months, flights were disrupted because of the illegal use of drones in its vicinity.
Following outrage from airlines and passengers, Dublin Airport announced their staff have been trained in the use of anti-drone technology and it is ready to be deployed after they receive regulatory approval.
The Irish Aviation Authority has been contacted for comment.
Main image: Passengers disembark from planes at Dublin Airport.