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Airline passengers brace for more disruption as Covid outbreaks and cabin crew strikes cancel flights

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Aer Lingus cancelled 13 flights to and from Dublin last weekend. Photo: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Aer Lingus cancelled 13 flights to and from Dublin last weekend. Photo: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said the Defence Forces would be on standby to be deployed at Dublin Airport from July 6. Photo: Jason Clarke

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said the Defence Forces would be on standby to be deployed at Dublin Airport from July 6. Photo: Jason Clarke

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Aer Lingus cancelled 13 flights to and from Dublin last weekend. Photo: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Passengers are bracing for further disruption during the peak summer holiday season, as Covid-19 among staff across Europe continues to cause cancellations.

At the weekend, Aer Lingus cancelled 13 flights to and from Dublin, and there were long queues through the airport, as the airline continues to feel the bite from a new wave of Covid-19 cases across Ireland and Europe.

Last weekend 13 flights were cancelled, while 12 were pulled on Wednesday and nine were cancelled yesterday.

The airline admitted it had been impacted by a “spike” in Covid cases among staff in recent days.

An airline spokesperson told the Irish Independent “just over 1pc” of its flights for June had been “impacted by cancellations”.

Yesterday Aer Lingus had to cancel flights from Dublin to Paris, Gatwick, Heathrow and Berlin.

The 6.15pm flight from Paris Charles De Gaulle to Dublin was cancelled, as were flights from Gatwick, Heathrow and Berlin.

In addition to Covid, the airline industry last weekend was impacted by a cabin crew and air traffic controller (ATC) strike in Spain, Portugal and Belgium.

Ryanair said it had cancelled no flights this week due to staff illness or shortages and expected the same next week unless it was affected by the ATC action.

Ryanair called on governments and the EU Commission to “take immediate action to resolve these Europe-wide ATC issues and prevent further disruption to European holidaymakers’ summer travels”.

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Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has said the Defence Forces would be on standby to be deployed at Dublin Airport from July 6 if Covid-19 made it difficult to operate.

He told RTÉ that airlines having to cancel flights was “absolutely” a concern and the Government’s priority was “first and foremost with the travelling public and their inconvenience”.

There were long queues outside Terminal 1 in Dublin Airport for a time yesterday afternoon.

But Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) said 98pc of passengers are getting through security in under 45 minutes.

Charmaine Quinn, from Blessington, Co Wicklow, said she will not be flying from the airport again until the chaos calms down, as she waited two and a half hours to get through security yesterday for her flight to Liverpool.

She arrived at 3pm for her flight to Liverpool and did not get through until 5.30pm.

“I won’t be flying again until the chaos at the airport is sorted, it is no joke,” she said.

“The airport appear to only be timing it once you reach area seven inside, disregarding the time spent queuing in the car park outside the airport.”

At 3pm yesterday, the queue started on the top floor of the Terminal 1 car park and went right through to outside the terminal building.

Queues were significantly shorter in Terminal 2 with no passengers waiting further than directly outside the security gates.

A spokesperson for the DAA said it had no reports of it taking up to two and half hours for passengers to get through security and that the majority are getting through in under 45 minutes.

“There was some moderate delays this afternoon, but processing has been relatively smooth overall today,” they said.


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