Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has called on the Government to draft in 250 army personnel to help deal with the security delays which have hit Dublin Airport in recent weeks.
peaking to Independent.ie, he also said the DAA needs to step up its recruitment drive as it grapples with a shortage of security staff.
His comments come as security queues at the airport peaked just before 4am today when it took passengers around 47 minutes to get through security. A DAA spokesman said queuing times were “well under 30 minutes” later in the morning.
However he said there are “peaks and troughs” for queues and reiterated advice for passengers to allow plenty of time at the airport – at peak times this can be up to three-and-a-half hours before departure time.
Mr O’Leary said as the busy Easter holiday period gets underway, he wants more action to tackle the lengthy queues – which in some instances have seen passengers miss their flights.
“We’ve been calling on Minister Ryan, who’s the Transport Minister, firstly to direct the DAA to hire and train not 250 but 400 additional security staff over the next six weeks. In the meantime, we want to see 250 army personnel called out, just for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, for the next eight weeks.
“They will help do the frisking at the security points and it will enable the airport to open all of the x-ray scanner machines in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 and keep the queues down,” he said.
“We need that combination of a dramatic recruitment drive by the DAA, we need the army in there at weekends and it’s reasonably small numbers – 250 army personnel would allow the DAA open up all the security things.”
A DAA spokesman said the busiest time at the airport on Saturdays are between 4am and 8am when the first wave of departures takes place.
He said the queues peaked just before 4am this morning when it was taking a maximum of 47 minutes to get through security.
“It was a busy first wave. Nobody missed a flight as a result of queuing for security,” he added.
He said passengers were heeding the advice to allow more time at the airport and airlines were also opening their check-in desks earlier than usual which was helping to keep people moving.
He said the airport will be busy again this afternoon and at around tea-time and urged passengers to be aware that it will be busy at peak periods.
“We’re doing all we can to alleviate delays for passengers, however, anyone travelling through Dublin Airport over the coming days and weeks should be aware that it might be very busy at peak periods.
“Our advice to passengers is to allow plenty of time. At peak times, this can mean up to three and a half hours before departure time. If parking a car, allow a further 30 minutes.
“Dublin Airport’s customer service team is working tirelessly with customers who have missed flights in recent days.
“Where security delays are found to have been the cause of a missed flight, DAA is issuing refunds to passengers. This process is ongoing and we ask affected passengers to bear with us over the coming days as we work through the various claims,” he added.