Monday 23 April 2018

Ferries 'full to the brim' as air passengers flood ports

Colin Gleeson

THOUSANDS of desperate air passengers continued to flock to the ports as the volcanic ash moving across Europe grounded flights.

Irish Ferries -- which reported the busiest day in its 30-year history on Thursday -- last night confirmed the unprecedented level of demand was still holding strong.

Stena Line also issued a statement reporting "exceptional demand" on all sailings.

The group's communications manager Eamonn Hewitt said yesterday was "no different" to the "huge surge in demand" it experienced on Thursday as weary travellers attempted to keep their holiday plans on track.

"We are doing everything we can to accommodate all passengers although sailings are booking up fast so we would urge people still needing to confirm their travel plans to do so as soon as possible," Mr Hewitt added.

Irish Ferries sent two ships out of Dublin Port yesterday morning "full to the brim" with passengers disrupted by the curtailment of air traffic.

"From 6.30am this morning, we saw queues down at Dublin Port -- the length of which we've never ever seen before," spokesman Don Hall said.

"A lot of them were very concerned they wouldn't get away, but we managed to ship every single one of them.

"We had a combined capacity of just over 2,000 passengers on our two ferries, so we were at full stretch. The vast proportion of them were foot passengers who were disrupted by the flights chaos.

"Our fast ferry that holds 800 people came in at 3pm and was full to capacity both coming in and going out.

"We're fully manned here -- we've had to increase our staff on duty to cope with the demand."

Irish Ferries saw a 300-fold increase in telephone reservations and online bookings for its crossings from Dublin to Holyhead, Wales.

"Our website hasn't crashed yet but it's obviously a bit slower than it normally would be," Mr Hall added.

Irish Independent

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