travel headache | 

Dublin airport passengers facing two big logjams as hectic weekend begins

Analysis of Dublin Airport traffic shows that aircraft will depart almost every 90 seconds during the peak morning travel period today.

Passengers are advised to arrive early at Dublin Airport this weekend. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Ralph Riegel and Senan Molony

Dublin Airport is set for two logjams of aircraft departures today as the hectic June bank holiday weekend kicks off.

Passengers bracing themselves for queues face two major congestion periods – from 6am-7am and from 7pm-8pm.

Airport bosses will be hoping queueing chaos can be avoided as a special operation is rolled out to cope with large numbers of passengers.

Analysis of Dublin Airport traffic shows that aircraft will depart almost every 90 seconds during the peak morning travel period today.

A total of 328 flights will depart from just after 5am until the final flight – a FlyOne service to Chisinau in Moldova – leaves Terminal 1 at 10.50pm.

Terminal 1 will prove the busiest over the day with a total of 204 departures compared to 124 flights leaving Terminal 2.

However, Terminal 2 will handle the bulk of long-haul departures involving bigger aircraft.

A total of 36 different flights – 18 each at Terminals 1 and 2 – will leave between 6am and 7am, marking the most congested period of the day at Dublin Airport for both terminals.

Just one hour later that number of total flights will drop to 27.

In that 6am-7am period, an aircraft will take-off from Dublin Airport almost every 90 seconds – the busiest travel period experienced by any Irish airport since the Covid-19 pandemic erupted in March 2020.

But, almost incredibly, just one hour later, between 8am and 9am, just one flight (Aer Lingus to London Gatwick) is scheduled to depart Terminal 2.

In contrast, Terminal 1 will be exceptionally busy from 6am until 9pm with the number of flight departures only dropping to single digits once – when nine flights leave between 9am and 10am.

The next most intensive period of departures at Dublin Airport after the morning rush will be between 7pm and 8pm with a total of 25 flights taking off.

These include 19 departures from Terminal 1 – its busiest period of the day.

Six flights will leave from Terminal 2 between 7pm and 8pm. In contrast, only two hours later, Terminal 1 will handle just three flights.

Seven flights will leave Dublin between 10pm and 11pm, all from Terminal 1.

Terminal 2 effectively halts departure operations at 8pm with the final flight leaving at 8.15pm – an Aer Lingus service to London Heathrow.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) said it was doing everything possible to reduce queuing times and delays at the airport after 1,000 passengers missed flights due to huge queues last Sunday.

Urgent staff recruitment for passenger check-in and security clearance is under way.

Given the huge number of people heading to the airport over the Bank Holiday weekend – the airport is expected to reach 95pc of pre-pandemic flight operations – passengers have been urged to arrive at the airport in good time.

“We advise that you allow 2.5 hours before a short-haul flight, and 3.5 hours before a long-haul flight,” a DAA spokesperson said.

“If you are checking in a bag, please allow up to an hour of additional time.

“Airline check-in desk and bag drop opening times vary, so please contact your airline to confirm and plan your journey accordingly.”

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan faced a grilling from the opposition on the airport debacle in the Dáil yesterday.

Sinn Féin accused Mr Ryan of being “asleep at the wheel” during the crisis.

Pearse Doherty TD told the Green Party leader: “You haven’t been held to account.”

Mr Ryan admitted the Dublin Airport Authority had not been able to guarantee that last weekend’s chaos would not be replicated this weekend, but he said everything would be done to avoid it.

Mr Ryan also conceded the Government considered diverting Dublin flights to Shannon in order to beat congestion in the capital.

“To be honest, that has huge complications, complexities and difficulties. That would not work,” he said.

“You’d have lots of people coming into the country that may be going to Dublin, with that flight they’ve already booked and already arranged. If we just switched the flight, you’d be causing huge disruption and difficulties.”

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