To tackle the queues and delays through the summer months.
It's no secret that Dublin Airport has been in chaos for months. Everyone has seen the queues, heard horror stories of delays, even flight cancellations from the likes of Aer Lingus and Ryanair this month. Coming into the summer season, there's a growing concern amongst passengers travelling from the airport. Currently it's advised that people arrive 2.5 hours ahead of short haul flights; this becomes 3.5 hours for long haul flights. Even those flying at non peak times are experiencing long security queues, unlike anything seen pre pandemic.
The Journal has reported that the Defence Forces are set to go on standby in case they need to assist Dublin Airport over the busy summer months. Queues are seemingly out of control and the rise in coronavirus cases has meant an increase in staff absences.
According to The Journal, Defence Minister Simon Coveney says the Defence Forces will undergo training to assist Dublin Airport if required. This came as a request from Transport Minister Eamon Ryan. Coveney believes that this is a, "short-term emergency related contingency action" and will not last beyond six weeks. The aim is to get through the busy summer season, with rates of travel having risen significantly. Coveney also said that the DAA will continue to recruit and train staff during this time.
While the Defence Forces stepping in to help at the airport is a short term solution, The Journal reports some have their reservations on this plan. Conor King, General Secretary of the Representative Association of Commissioned Officers (RACO) says these forces should not be relied upon.
"Once again the Defence Forces are turned to in the country’s time of need, and will undoubtedly step up as the State’s insurance policy. We are concerned however that this is another example of the Defence Forces being used as emergency cover to compensate for management decisions in other state bodies."
King is seeking clarity on the specific role the Defence Forces would play in Dublin Airport.
A Journal poll revealed one in 10 passengers would make alternative travel arrangements; this would be to avoid flying out of Dublin Airport.
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