Queues outside both terminals. Photo: RTE

Dublin Airport apologises for 'letting the nation down'

Minister meeting with DAA chief over 'unsatisfactory' situation

Dublin Airport has apologised for chaotic scenes at the weekend that saw more than 1,000 passengers miss flights due to lengthy queues, saying it had “let the nation down”.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) confirmed this morning that "well over" 1,000 passengers had missed flights yesterday (Sunday) due to a lack of security staff that saw travellers in queues both outside and inside terminal buildings.

Spokesman Kevin Cullinane said passengers financially hit by the queues would be compensated “as quickly as possible”.

“We are conscious that we let ourselves down and we let the nation down yesterday, and we certainly don’t want a repeat of that on our watch this week,” he said on RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

Asked why the airport did not have enough staff to cope with passenger numbers, Mr Cullinane said it is “operating on very fine margins at the moment”.

He said the issue became apparent shortly after 4am yesterday morning, with the system eventually overwhelmed by the “sheer presentation” of passengers.

While queues returned to more “controlled and calming” levels on this morning (Monday), Mr Cullinane declined to say if enough staff will be in place to avoid a repeat of the scenes over the coming weekend.

“We will have all the staff available, including our taskforce deployed again this weekend. We will be doing our level best to make sure that everyone makes their flight this weekend,” he said.

Media relations manager with the DAA, Graeme McQueen, described the weekend’s chaotic scenes as a “blip”.

Asked if he could guarantee there would not be a repeat over the upcoming bank holiday weekend, he said: “I can guarantee you that today, tomorrow and in the days ahead, we’ll be doing everything we can to find out what went wrong.

“We’ll be making sure that our contingency plan is in place, making sure we’ve got enough staff on next weekend to handle the numbers that are coming through.

“We want to correct this, we’re growing back after Covid, we’ve had a number of issues over a few of the months.

The DAA is recruiting over the coming days and weeks to tackle staff shortages, with a target of an additional 370 officers by the end of June.

With 45,000 departures schedule today, waiting times of 45 minutes at Terminal 1 and 25 minutes at Terminal 2 were reported this morning.

Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton is meeting the DAA chief executive to establish what went wrong on Sunday, after Taoiseach Micheál Martin described the situation as “unsatisfactory”.