Airport chaos predicted if delays continue

TOUR operators predict chaos at Dublin Airport next weekend if delays caused by a security clampdown continue on into the summer holiday season which starts next weekend.

Hundreds of passengers have missed their flights since new measures were introduced following security breaches at the airport last week. There were some delays again yesterday morning, but Dublin Airport Authority said that later in the day there were no more than normal.

Aer Lingus said 200 of its passengers missed flights since the security measures were introduced more than a week ago and 150 flights were delayed. The clampdown follows an EU-sanctioned audit where inspectors managed to smuggle fake bombs and guns through security and walk onto planes.

Falcon/JWT managing director Damien Mooney, said the situation was totally unacceptable.

Mr Mooney has warned of chaotic scenes if immediate action is not taken before the start of the summer holiday season next weekend, which is the May Bank Holiday weekend. A spokesman for Dublin Airport Authority said the summer season starts at Easter and added that he “didn’t need someone from JWT/Falcon to tell us” that it was going to busy over the bank holiday period.

“We are working as hard as we can, applying every resource we have to staff the situation sufficiently,” the spokesman added. Twenty staff already in training will be ready to start work at the airport’s security points from tomorrow.

In total, 60 security screeners are being trained.

Three extra security channels are to be opened, but that is the maximum increase that can be allocated due to limited space at the airport, which has an extremely high throughput for its size.

Duty-free shops at Dublin Airport have lost thousands of euro since the security measures were introduced following the hard-hitting audit last week, it was claimed by a small business leader.

Time-pressured passengers are heading straight for the planes after passing security, said Pat Delaney of the Small Firms Association, costing shops business.

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