Aer Lingus has said that the technical problems it experienced on Saturday that led to the cancellation of 51 flights and left passengers stranded in both Ireland and abroad has been resolved and that it is “taking steps to bring all of our systems back online”.
In a statement issued on Saturday evening it apologised to customers who had had flights delayed or cancelled on Saturday and said it would seek to either accommodate them on new flights or deal with claims for refunds as quickly as possible.
Changes could be made or refunds sought on the company website, a spokesman said, and extra customer service personnel would be drafted in to work through the backlog.
[ Aer Lingus passengers at Dublin Airport: ‘It is horrendous’ ]
The company says that it hopes to operate a normal service on Sunday and asked that all customers booked to fly come to the airport at “the normal time for the scheduled flight”.
Dublin Airport operator daa said in a statement on Saturday evening that it would deploy additional staff at Terminal 2 to “facilitate Aer Lingus passengers departing from Dublin Airport tonight [Saturday] and tomorrow [Sunday] as the airline resumes flight operations following an issue with their internal IT system earlier today”.
Earlier, the scenes in Dublin Airport were described as “chaotic” and the airline had to appeal for would-be passengers on routes scheduled to depart after 2pm on Saturday not to turn up at the airport.
In all, 51 flights were cancelled and most of the airline’s communications crashed along with other operational systems, severely hindering its ability to provide guidance to customers on the situation.
Flights grounded included to and from London’s Heathrow with Gatwick, Rome, Frankfurt, Corfu, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Nice, Paris, Venice, Izmir, Santorini and Burgas among the other destinations affected.
Services from Heathrow to Belfast, Geneva to Dublin and Rome to Dublin were also cancelled. Flights from Portugal and Spain to Ireland were said to be slated to take-off “albeit with delays”.
Routes between Aer Lingus bases in Cork, Shannon and Belfast as well as regional flights operated by Emerald Airlines were also “planned to operate... albeit with delays and risk of short-notice cancellations.”
Aer Lingus blamed a “major break in connectivity” at its UK-based network provider for downing its cloud-based IT system.
In a repeat of the scenes involving lengthy waits outside the airport witnessed at various points in recent months, hundreds of passengers could be seen in “double snaked” queues before even entering a terminal.
While previous queues — in early summer and Easter — were down to staffing issues at Dublin Airport caused by redundancies during the pandemic, this weekend’s problems at Terminal 2 only affected Aer Lingus passengers.
One passenger on social media complained about queuing for three hours.
“No movement. No check in, bags, no boarding, no take-offs,” the person said.
Another said: “Thousands of customers affected here at a chaotic Dublin Airport.”
Others branded the backlog a “mess”, while one said: “This type of scene would put you off travelling”. they described the queue as an “outdoor double snaked line the whole length of the terminal”.
On its Twitter account, Aer Lingus said at that point it hoped the issue would be resolved “in a few hours”.
Many took to social media to complain about a lack of information and updates throughout the day, as passengers in Ireland and throughout Europe were stranded.
One said: “I was here during similar serious Aer Lingus chaos before, when it was partly in public ownership. That day senior managers came to talk to the passengers. Today they’re hiding. And the PA notifications are deplorable both in lack of content and in delivery.”
Aer Lingus apologised to the customer online, adding: “Unfortunately, we are unable to give you an update if there is no new information. We hope you can understand this.”
Asked if it was possible to rebook flights, one customer was told: “Unfortunately, not until the tech issue is resolved. As soon as this happens we will update all guests via email as well as on our social media channels.”
In a statement, Dublin Airport management said it was due to an “IT outage” affecting Aer Lingus.
“As they work to resolve the issue we ask guests to co-operate with our teams,” a spokesman said.
“This is not impacting any other airlines. We thank everyone for their patience.”
Aer Lingus’ website and app was also down on Saturday. A message on its home page said “a scheduled upgrade is in progress”.
“We hope this does not cause undue inconvenience. Please try again later,” it added.