More than 1,000 passengers missed flights on Sunday due to long queues at Dublin Airport, according to the Dublin Airport Authority (daa).
The number could rise as the airport conducts a final tally in conjunction with airline partners, with a spokesperson saying the number is already “well over” 1,000.
The problems that have plagued the airport for the past few months came to a head over the weekend, with some passengers queuing for more than 11 hours for their flights.
Junior Transport Minister Hildegarde Naughton advanced her meeting with the daa’s chief executive to first thing this morning, seeking clarification on the reasons for yesterday’s delays.
Staffing issues are largely to blame for delays getting travelers to the airport – a problem that was identified in March.
Despite the airport operating at maximum available staff and aggressive recruitment in recent weeks, staff have found themselves overwhelmed.
Kevin Cullinane, communications manager with the daa, said it became clear early Sunday morning that there were not enough staff to meet demand.
“At the moment, any absenteeism is impacting our ability to operate the security lanes,” he said.
“We have bolstered our front line security officers with a staffing task force of over 450 back office staff.
“They were back yesterday but clearly the challenges we faced early on from around 4.30am were exasperated as people joined the baggage drop queues, checked queues and eventually the system was just overwhelmed by the mere presentation of passengers.”
Talk toon RTÉ Radio 1, Mr Cullinane said many passengers started arriving early in the morning in a bid to avoid the queues and so the queue started to build up from 3am in the morning.
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The daa said security guards will complete their training and be available to begin work in the coming days and weeks. By the end of June, it is hoped that 370 additional officers will be working at the airport.
Those hoping to get away for the June Bank Holiday weekend fear similar scenes seen over the weekend.
Mr Cullinane said all available staff will be on duty over the long weekend, including the task force, and the daa will do its best to ensure all passengers get their flights.
“We’ll do our best to make sure everyone gets their flight this weekend,” he said.
Hundreds of images and videos of queues snaking through the departures area, outside terminals and in car parks were widely shared on social media as passengers expressed their frustration.
Affected passengers expressed their fury describing the situation as “chaotic”, “chaotic” and “shameful”.
The daa said it would reward those who had no means following Sunday’s airport chaos. They are advised to email [email protected]
Around 45,000 passengers are expected to depart from Dublin Airport today with current waiting times of 45 minutes in Terminal 1 and 25 minutes in Terminal 2.