Dublin Airport has received 5,000 job applications, daa’s Media Relations Manager Graeme McQueen has said, following delays at the airport this weekend that saw more than 1,000 people miss flights.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime, Mr McQueen said recruitment began before Christmas last year, with more than 500 candidates interviewed and 200 hired to date.

“It’s not that we weren’t recruiting, we just weren’t recruiting at the levels required to meet the demands of what we are currently seeing,” Mr McQueen said.

He said training of new staff typically takes between five and six weeks.

Garda clearance and similar clearance from countries where the candidates may have lived in the past also creates a delay.

The forecast for passenger levels has been inaccurate, he added.

Mr McQueen said: “The bounce back in passenger numbers right across Europe has been much quicker than we were expecting and that’s something we are having to deal with.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One News, Group Head of Communications at the daa Kevin Cullinane said some of its office-based staff will be working on security checks at the weekend.

He said that there will be a “small army of over 1,000 daa employees” on hand.

“Additional staff are being rostered. Staff are being offered over time. Our company-wide task force of over 450 employees in back offices such as HR, finance, IT, will be complementing the existing core of over 600 security officers over this weekend,” he said.

“So there will be a small army of over 1,000 daa employees on hand, augmented by contract staff in queue management to make sure that the optimum number of staff are on duty right through the Bank Holiday weekend and the summer months, June July, August ahead.”

Earlier, Mr Cullinane said more than 1,000 passengers missed their flights at the Airport due to lengthy queues yesterday.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said an updated tally will be carried out to get a final figure for those who missed flights, and again apologised to passengers.

Asked how many people missed flights, Mr Cullinane said: “At this stage we estimate over 1,000 passengers … we will be doing a final tally with all our airline partners and customers again this morning to ascertain the final number”.

He added: “But certainly at this stage, it’s well over 1,000 passengers, and we unreservedly apologise”.

Officials from daa are to meet Minister of State for International Transport Hildegarde Naughton this morning, as she seeks clarity on how yesterday’s situation arose. More than 50,000 passengers were expected to depart the airport yesterday.

Operations at Dublin Airport are running more smoothly today, with no queues outside the terminal buildings. Some queues formed for a time earlier this morning outside terminal one, with a temporary set-down zone in operation briefly.

Extra security lanes were opened to cater for the anticipated early arrival of passengers, with 45,000 people due to depart from Dublin Airport today.

Asked why the airport did not have enough staff to deal with yesterday’s numbers, Mr Cullinane said the airport is operating on “very fine margins”, and is “running to the max” of available staffing levels.

Mr Cullinane added that there should be an additional 370 additional officers by the start of July.

“Yesterday morning when we opened security in terminal one and terminal two, we clearly didn’t have enough security lanes open due to resourcing challenges, and at the moment any absenteeism impacts on our ability to operate lanes,” he said.

The challenges the airport faced started at around 4.30am yesterday, he said, and grew worse as people joined various queues until eventually the system was just overwhelmed.

He said the airport did not become aware of the scale of the problem until “literally people report for duty at 3am and 4am” and when it became apparent, the airport did its best to open the optimum number of lanes.

Although the airport would be aware of how many passengers are due to present at the airport over the course of a day, it does not have access to airline passenger manifests, he said.

By 4difm

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