Sunday 24 September 2017

Revealed: Why immigration queues have become longer at Dublin Airport

Large crowds waiting to reach Passport Control in Dublin Airport's T1 recently
Large crowds waiting to reach Passport Control in Dublin Airport's T1 recently

Kevin Doyle and Kathy Armstrong

Increased passenger numbers mean passengers are facing longer waiting times at passport control at Dublin Airport, it has emerged.

Passengers have taken to social media to vent their anger at being greeted with lengthy queues when they touch down in the capital before they get to Passport Control, particularly in the evening.

Due to a spate of terrorist attacks last year security measures have been heightened at the airport, although this has caused waiting times to increase.

Everyone's passports and travel documents are scanned by immigration officers on an international database.

Previously checks with Interpol were only carried out infrequently, generally when suspicions were already raised about a passenger.

Coupled with the fact that the airport is bustling, this is not good news for anyone hoping to make a speedy exit.

The insider said: "There have been several new routes added in the last couple of years, you might have more than 20 flights arriving within an hour of each other and each one of those is carrying up to 180 people each, that means you could have 4,000 people coming through arrivals at the same time.

"Now that each passport has to be scanned that might only takes 20 seconds to process but multiply that by the thousands of people arriving and there's little wonder people can be waiting for a while."

A general view of passport control at Dublin Airport
A general view of passport control at Dublin Airport

There is some good news though because the airport source said they're planning to install more self-service kiosks and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service - who carry out the checks - are recruiting extra staff.

A Dublin Airport spokesman said that they are working with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) to tackle the problem.

Read More: New passport data checks at Dublin airport to combat jihadi terror threat

He told Independent.ie: "Delays to a number of inbound flights on Sunday night meant that a particularly large volume of passengers arrived at the same time at T1 immigration – which is operated by INIS – and this had an impact on processing times.

"We are working closely with our colleagues in INIS to help improve the overall immigration product in Terminal 1 and a number of upgrades, including the installation of new e-gates, are due to take place in the coming months."

The Department of Justice, who operate INIS, dismissed claims there are delays in security at the airport.

A spokesman said: "Information supplied by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) in relation to queue times for arriving passengers at Dublin Airport shows that over 90 per cent of all travellers are processed through immigration control in a matter of minutes with the figures even higher for passengers of EU nationalities.

"On the rare occasions that passengers may experience delays this can be for a variety of reasons including congestion arising in the terminal building due to the number of passengers disembarking from flights at peak daily periods, delayed flights due to weather conditions, or other factors including the conducting of enhanced checks on passengers or current building works in one of the immigration areas which has reduced the space available.

"The allocation of immigration personnel at Dublin Airport is designed to have the maximum number of staff on duty during peak periods. 

"Every effort is made by immigration officers to exercise their function as speedily as possible consistent with the requirement to protect our borders and facilitate legitimate travellers.

Read More: Dublin Airport named world's 10th best by passengers

Immigration officials have been given access to Interpol’s I24 database, which contains details of all stolen or lost passportsin
Immigration officials have been given access to Interpol’s I24 database, which contains details of all stolen or lost passportsin

"Nonetheless, a very high number of flights within a contracted arrivals time period (which happens frequently at Dublin airport) and the consequent increased passenger numbers within these peak times, can impact on queuing times over these periods.

"Although, the immigration authorities at Dublin airport have no control over the number of flights or their arrival times, they have an excellent relationship with the Dublin Airport Authority and air carriers and work closely together to address queue management issues where they arise so as to ensure that waiting times are kept to a minimum.

"Since November 2016 an automated connection to INTERPOL’s Lost and Stolen Travel Documents database was rolled out to all international airports and seaports and passengers are systematically checked against this database. This has not had any significant impact on immigration processing times. "

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News