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Defence Forces put on standby at Dublin Airport amidst travel chaos

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Long queues at Dublin Airport.

Long queues at Dublin Airport.

Long queues at Dublin Airport.

fingalindependent

In a significant move in the current Dublin Airport debacle, daa has requested that the Irish Defence Forces be trained and put on standby to assist at the airport in the case of further disruption.

The request was made by Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, on behalf of Dublin Airport operator, daa.

The move comes amidst growing concerns over possible further staff shortages in the event of a further outbreak of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, daa management has reiterated its confidence in its current plan to minimise disruption to travellers at Dublin Airport.

The announcement comes amidst recent travelling chaos for passengers at Dublin Airport.

According to daa, during the first three weeks of June, 93% of all passengers spent 45 minutes or less queuing at Dublin Airport’s security screening areas, while 77% of passengers queued for 30 minutes or less.

Over the weekend of June 24-26, the busiest Dublin Airport has experienced since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic - 91% of the 50,000 to 55,000 passengers that departed Dublin Airport each day cleared security screening in less than 45 minutes.

Ruling out capacity reductions, which would greatly affect holidaymakers, daa has outlined to Government that a “prudent contingency at this juncture” could be for the State Authorities and daa to take initial steps to facilitate the training of the Defence Forces personnel at the airport’s Vehicle Control Posts, should this ultimately be required.

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As a first phase, daa outlined that the State could take preparatory steps in the immediate term to train and prepare Defence Forces personnel for such a deployment, in the event that significant Covid-19-related absences due to illness and infection affected daa’s own security team.

Any deployment of Defence Forces personnel would only be triggered as a second phase, and only if ultimately required due to a Covid-19 outbreak.

daa reports that recent weeks have started to see the impact of the current rise in Covid-19 cases in the aviation sector, with 13 flights cancelled by one carrier on Sunday June 26 alone, citing an outbreak of Covid-19 amongst its staff as a key contributory factor.

daa’s management team has been in regular and frequent contact with both Ministers Ryan and Naughton, and their officials in the Department of Transport, to consider any further contingency measures that could be implemented at Dublin Airport in the event of a resurgence of the virus over the coming months.

In response to the significant security queuing challenges that Dublin Airport experienced on May 29, daa has said it has put in place a “comprehensive operational plan” to ensure there will be no repeat of these challenges during June or in the busy summer period ahead.

This plan includes: a redoubling of efforts concerning the recruitment, training, and certification of the full complement of new security staff members that the airport requires; redeployment of all available security staff from other activities; secured additional screening staff from Cork Airport; deliver overtime incentives to drive the uptake of additional hours amongst existing staff in security and operations; and a host of other measures.


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