Passengers arriving on inbound flights to Dublin last week were met by stockpiles of luggage in the airport terminal — with cases stacked and piled around the perimeter of baggage halls and around the carousels.
Much of the luggage lining the baggage halls has to be rerouted to be reunited with owners. Some of the bags stored in the terminals were from flights more than seven days earlier.
Other bags have been routed through Dublin from overseas airports en route to travellers elsewhere.
One bag seen by the
Sunday Independent last week was being rerouted after it was checked in at Dublin on May 30. Another bag was being rerouted to Mexico from Germany after it was checked in on May 24 but missed a connecting flight.
It is unclear how long any of the stored luggage has been in Dublin Airport but passengers have complained of not being reunited with their baggage for up to a week.
Airport operator DAA said it was aware of issues with baggage return but said this is managed by individual airlines and handling partners.
Some of these airlines and companies face similar challenges to DAA, with significant shortfalls in staff numbers after workers were released from their positions during the pandemic.
“While Dublin Airport provides the baggage system infrastructure in the terminals, we are not responsible for the handling of baggage,” a DAA spokesman said.
“We acknowledge and regret that these issues are impacting the passenger experience at Dublin Airport.
“We are liaising very closely with both the airlines and the handling companies about these issues, the root of which lies in the significant staff hiring challenges facing all companies operating in the Irish aviation sector right across the supply chain.”
He said passengers experiencing issues should make contact with their airline.
Aer Lingus said it has put significant planning into returning its services to 90pc of summer 2019 peak levels and issues within its control are working well “but unfortunately the issues that are outside of our control — such as services provided by airports and third-party suppliers — are adding elevated levels of disruption”.
A spokeswoman for the airline said it was working closely with airports and suppliers to address these challenges.
“Staffing shortages and supply chain issues at Dublin and other European airports and among third-party suppliers are sometimes resulting in our customers experiencing a level of service below what they expect and we apologise for this,” she added.
Ryanair said it “has no baggage or handling issues at Dublin Airport”.
Aviation services company Swissport said the problems were currently not an issue for its Dublin operations.
Sky Handling Partner did not respond to attempts to contact its Dublin offices last week.
DAA said operations improved at the airport last week and it was on track to have 780 security staff in place soon.