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Holidaymaker hit by airport door gets €19k

A 63-YEAR-OLD Cavan man whose nose was broken by a closing electronic door at Dublin Airport has been awarded €19,000 damages against Aer Lingus.

Barrister Gerard Groarke told the Circuit Civil Court that Thomas Smyth and his wife, Evelyn, were on their way to a holiday in Tenerife when the incident occurred at Gate 106 at Terminal One in January 2011.

Instead of boarding the plane, Mr Smyth, accompanied by his wife, was taken by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital where an X-ray revealed his nose had been broken.

They were able to resume their holiday two days later, but Mr Smyth had a broken nose and two black eyes.

The court learned the holiday was spoiled for the couple.

Mr Groarke said both Aer Lingus and Dublin Airport Authority had been sued and damages of €19,000 had been agreed between the defendants, who asked Judge Jacqueline Linnane to decide which of them was to blame.

The court heard the electronic door at Gate 106 was opened by an Aer Lingus flight attendant inserting an identity card and code into an electronic pad.



The door was magnetically timed to close after exactly 30 minutes but, sometimes, boarding took up to 40 minutes.

Mr Smyth, of Breifne, Mountnugent, Co Cavan, said that he was walking through an open space when he was suddenly hit, without warning, by the rapidly closing door.

He said he was bleeding badly and had been overcome by shock, before he was taken to hospital.

Eamon Marray, counsel for Dublin Airport Authority, said there had been no evidence of negligence on the part of his client.

He was granted a direction dismissing the claim, with costs, against the DAA.

Judge Linnane, making an order for the agreed damages only against the airline, said there had been no defect found in the door.

"If Aer Lingus had felt at any stage that the 30-minute electronic time gap for boarding purposes was insufficient they should have asked the airport authority to extend it," Judge Linnane said.