Dublin Airport aims to have enough security personnel to cater for Christmas travellers, says its owner, State company DAA.
The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications wrote to DAA last week querying security arrangements at the airport after Ryanair said it feared a repeat of last summer’s queues.
According to a response from Catherine Gubbins, DAA’s interim chief executive, the airport’s “core objective is to ensure that the supply of lanes at security screening will effectively meet passenger demand during peak periods”.
Ryanair asked DAA recently if all 14 security lanes Dublin’s terminal one would be open from December 15th to January 6th. The airline group’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said last week that the airport operator had not given it a direct answer to this “simple question”.
Ms Gubbins’ letter to the Oireachtas committee states that Dublin Airport looks at hour-by-hour passenger forecasts to determine the number of security lanes it will need at any point in time.
Consequently, the number of lanes open varies continuously during the day.
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“We are currently completing our detailed planning for the Christmas period in this regard, with a view to ensuring that adequate security processing capacity will be available throughout,” she explains.
DAA expects the airport to be busy from December 15th to January 10th, 2023, with numbers similar to the same period in 2019, the last Christmas not affected by Government Covid curbs.
Ms Gubbins does not say how many passengers the airport expects over Christmas. However, during the busiest days over the 2019 festive period, around 90,000 people – 45,000 outward and 45,000 incoming – passed through Dublin.
DAA said last week that it has facilitated this number of passengers on more than 40 days this year.
“In total, since June, almost 17 million passenger have been processed through the airport without any notable security-related challenges,” its interim chief executive says.
The State company expects to have 645 security officers on its books in December, broadly in line with staffing levels during the same period in 2019. The vast majority of these will be available to work, with a small group in training, according to Ms Gubbins.
She says DAA will supplement numbers through overtime and by using non-front-line and senior managers on security lines as needed.
“On this basis, we anticipate that the airport will have sufficient resourcing in place to meet expected passenger demand throughout the Christmas period,” she says.
Around 1,400 passengers missed flights from Dublin on May 29th following security delays at the airport. Queues remained long during the summer, but a recruitment drive allowed the airport to cut waiting times by August.