Plane madness | 

Dublin Airport estimates 1,000 people missed flights yesterday due to queue chaos

Bank holiday passengers warned to watch out for updated advice on queuing times
Extended delays and queues at Dublin Airport also compound the security difficulties. Photo: Frank McGrath.

Extended delays and queues at Dublin Airport also compound the security difficulties. Photo: Frank McGrath.

Laura Lynott, John Downing and Ciara O’Loughlin

Dublin Airport estimates that at least 1,000 people missed flights yesterday due to massive queues outside Terminal 1 and 2 yesterday.

Communications chief at the airport Kevin Cullinane admitted they had let the country down yesterday amid chaotic scenes, and vowed they will compensate those affected.

"We will recompense anyone who was out of pocket because of yesterday's queues,” he told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

He added that extra security lanes were opened this morning to deal with queues.

Passengers queue in the walkway into departures at Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. Photo: Frank McGrath.

Passengers queue in the walkway into departures at Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. Photo: Frank McGrath.

His comments come as holidaymakers hoping to jet off over the June Bank Holiday weekend may be told to arrive even earlier at Dublin Airport after airport bosses admitted they don’t know what caused the chaos.

Passengers were forced to queue for hours outside both terminals from early yesterday morning, with many missing their flights as a result.

With more than 100,000 passengers due to pass through the airport next weekend, the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) said it will today review how the crisis unfolded.

However, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan last night branded the debacle as “completely unacceptable” and laid the blame squarely at the feet of airport bosses.

“The Dublin Airport Authority must pull out all the stops from today to ensure this cannot ever happen again. We will provide every reasonable assistance to support their efforts – but it is primarily a task for them,” he told Independent.ie.

He said he was disappointed at the weekend scenes at the airport after extensive efforts by his department to develop remedies with airport management over the past two months.

Mr Ryan said contacts would continue today between his department’s senior officials and the airport authorities.

He also said Junior Transport Minister Hildegarde Naughton would continue her efforts to find remedies for these recurring problems.

Last night, the DAA was unable to say what caused the chaotic scenes yesterday, when 50,000 passengers were due to depart the airport.

With the DAA admitting a higher number again are due to travel over the bank holiday weekend, it would not rule out telling passengers to arrive even earlier for flights. It said it would “upgrade passenger advice this week”.

A spokesperson said: “It’s too early to say yet if we will need to change passenger travel advisory for next weekend.

“We will review the situation tomorrow in relation to what happened today to undertake a full root cause analysis.

“Next weekend will see in excess of 100,000 passengers arriving and departing from Dublin Airport.”

They were also unable to say how many passengers missed their flights yesterday, saying “we will have to tally this data from each individual airline”.

The DAA has said it will refund passengers who were unable to make their flight due to the delays.

It informed passengers yesterday morning: “Due to significant queues inside the terminal for check-in, bag drop and security, passengers queuing outside the terminal may not make their flight and may need to contact their airline to rebook.”

It comes as the DAA had promised that passengers would get through security in 30 minutes or less from early June.

However, one passenger told how, shortly before 11am yesterday, they had already been queuing outside one of the ­terminals for three hours.

Another person said that people were arriving at boarding gates and “breaking down in tears, either because they have missed their flight or from the relief of just making it”.

DAA head of communications Kevin Cullinane said they were “putting their hands up” and admitting they did not have enough resources in place.

He told RTÉ Radio 1: “We were trying to gear up… we were aware it was going to be a busy weekend, and next weekend is the bank holiday and will be busier.

“We’re using all available management and staff, frontline and backline, to make sure we have the optimum support.

“But clearly, this morning, it wasn’t enough. We have to put our hands up.

“It is now under control in T1, but we still have lengthy queues outside T2.”

He said given the volume of passengers queuing, it was “proving difficult” to prioritise those whose flights were departing imminently. He said a lot depended on the goodwill of fellow passengers and cited one group travelling to Barbados for a family wedding who were accommodated by others in the queue.

“But there are so many people looking to make flights, it’s impossible to get everyone through in a triage fashion,” he said.

“We have to look at the full causes of why this morning’s queues were as lengthy as they were and will upgrade passenger advice this coming week.”


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