Wednesday 22 October 2014

Passengers stuck for hours at Derry airport due to lack of passport control

Published 27/08/2014 | 15:34

City of Derry Airport

Dozens of passengers were stranded at City of Derry Airport this morning when UK Border Force was unavailable to check their passports.

The passengers, who landed on a Ryanair flight from Alicante around 9am, were reportedly delayed for about two hours because nobody was manning passport control.

"There's a plane-load of people waiting here to get through passport control," singer Mickey Joe Harte - one of the passengers affected by the delays - told Highland Radio this morning.

"Everybody's a wee bit frustrated here, you know."

After landing, passengers were led from the plane into the baggage area, Harte said. There, they were issued with refreshments as they waited for the appropriate staff to arrive.

Border Force apologised for the delay.

“Officers were deployed as usual from Belfast International Airport as soon as they became aware of the issue and all passengers were subsequently cleared," it said in a statement.

“Security of the border is our priority and we have to carry out the necessary passport checks. We are investigating the circumstances of this incident.”

A spokesperson for Ryanair said:

“Customers arriving into Derry Airport from Alicante today (August 27th) were delayed at passport control due to a shortage of staff, which also slightly delayed the outbound return flight. We have asked Derry Airport to investigate this matter and ensure it does not recur.”

Despite the inconvenience, passengers were "chilled-out" during the delay, Harte said.

City of Derry Airport had no statement to make.

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