Sunday 19 May 2019

Scenes of joy at airports as tens of thousands flock home for Christmas

Robyn (8) and Molly Scott (13) greet their cousin Eve-Lily (11) from Sydney
Robyn (8) and Molly Scott (13) greet their cousin Eve-Lily (11) from Sydney
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

There were emotional scenes at airports as tens of thousands of people flocked home to spend Christmas with their loved ones.

At Dublin Airport close to 100,000 passengers were expected to flood through the arrivals hall throughout the day - making it the airport's busiest Christmas to date.

Cathal Daynes, from Bray, Co Wicklow, was ecstatic to see his fiancée India arrive from Australia.

"It's fantastic, my family haven't seen her since we got engaged last year, so we're really excited," Cathal told the Irish Independent.

Fionnuala O'Sullivan was "delighted" to see her only daughter Niamh return home from Brussels for the festive period.

"It's been so long. She's the only daughter I have; I've got three boys, so it's great to have your daughter home for Christmas. They're all dying to see her," she said.

"I'm most looking forward to getting some of my mother's good cooking," her daughter Niamh said.

"Home, family, Christmas tree, a real fire - the whole package."

Marian Bradfield greets daughter Jenny from Dubai
Marian Bradfield greets daughter Jenny from Dubai

Meanwhile, Ian Dube was eagerly anticipating the arrival of his two daughters Raquel and Rochelle, who flew in from Edinburgh with their mum.

"They've been in Scotland for almost a year, it's a dream come true to see them back. They're home," he said.

While the Brown family from Coolock dressed up to the occasion to greet family member Kim home from New Zealand.

"We can't wait to see her, it's been a year since we've seen her. We're looking forward to being together and having dinner," her sister Sharon Brown said.

Noeleen Deering greets her daughter Edel and grandson Matthew (11 weeks) from Zurich
Noeleen Deering greets her daughter Edel and grandson Matthew (11 weeks) from Zurich

"We can't wait to have the family together".

The two terminals at Dublin Airport were decked out with more than 300,000 led lights, 60 Christmas trees, 500 metres of garlands, 30 Christmas wreaths and 30 festive displays this year.

A total of 1.1 million passengers will pass through Dublin Airport this Christmas season, an increase of 8pc from last year.

Flight operations will cease on Christmas Eve after the last flight departs to Moscow with Aeroflot at 10pm and they will resume on St Stephen's Day when Aer Lingus's EI 104 from New York lands at 5am.

After today, December 28 is expected to be the next busiest day for airport staff, with an increase in passengers heading to winter sun and skiing destinations.

While Dublin Airport has seen its busiest Christmas to date, operations at Gatwick Airport faced further disruption yesterday following chaos caused by drones.

The second busiest airport in London was once again disrupted yesterday as stranded passengers desperately tried to depart.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley, of Sussex Police, said there had been more than 50 sightings of the drone in the 24 hours since 9pm on Wednesday, when the airport first closed.

Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick's chief operating officer, said 120,000 passengers' flights had been disrupted.

Speaking to reporters outside the airport's south terminal on Thursday, he said: "We will do what we can to take that drone out of the sky and remove that disruption so we can get Gatwick back to normal.

"One of the options is to use firearms officers if that presents itself - they have been out on the ground today and that's a consideration and a tactical option that's open."

Military measures have been put in place to deal with the rogue device.

Shortly after 5.45pm yesterday evening, Gatwick announced on its Twitter page that flights were once again grounded after drone sightings were reported.

"Gatwick is investigating reports of a drone sighting. As a precaution we have suspended airfield operations. More to follow," it said.

At 6.30pm yesterday the airport announced that flights would be continuing to operate as normal.

"Flights have now resumed. Airfield movements were suspended while we investigated this as safety remains our main priority.

"The military measures we have in place at the airport have provided us with reassurance necessary to re-open our airfield," a Gatwick spokesperson said.

Irish Independent

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