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Carrickfinn boost from Dublin Airport debacle

A senior security officer at Donegal Airport has been sent to Dublin to help ease the chaos there.

Dublin Airport has been overwhelmed in recent days with long queues of frustrated passengers forced to wait inside and outside its terminals. At least 1,000 travellers missed their flights at the weekend as a result of the pandemonium.

According to the Dublin Airport Authority one of the key problems has been staff shortages, particularly among its security personnel.

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During the pandemic airports worldwide, with the exception of some smaller regionals like Donegal, laid off large sections of their workforce. With travel now back close to pre-Covid levels airports have been struggling to recruit workers, particularly in the fields of security and ground handling.

The Dublin Airport Authority is in the process of recruiting 370 additional officers, 300 of which are undergoing the necessary five to six week training.

Carrickfinn’s security examiner, along with a small number of personnel from Ireland’s other regional airports, has been drafted in to speed up the process.

“We are providing a security examiner for Dublin a few days a week to assist with the certification of trainees,” Eilish Doherty said.

“They are helping get them trained up because aviation security is a skilled role. We are thankful that we didn’t let any staff go during the pandemic and that we are starting again with a full complement.”

Carrickfinn has also reported an up-turn in passenger numbers in the wake of the problems being experienced in the capital.

Since taking over the Donegal to Dublin route earlier this year Emerald Airlines, a franchise partner of Aer Lingus, has reported a 25 per-cent surge in custom.

But Donegal Airport Managing Director Eilish Doherty said there had been a further four per-cent increase in traveller numbers in recent weeks, some of which was likely down to people trying to avoid the queues in Dublin.

Under Aer Lingus rules, passengers flying from Donegal to Dublin to catch a connecting flight do not have to go through security, they instead use a transport corridor which takes them straight through to their next gate.

Ms Doherty said, “In terms of passenger numbers there has been a 25 per-cent growth since Emerald took over. But over the last few weeks we have seen a further pick up, probably around four per-cent, which can be attributed to the queues.”

Another appealing factor is that Donegal became the first airport in Ireland to do away the requirements around 100ml containers and to take electronics out of bags.

To navigate around the regulations Carrickfinn installed a high-tech explosive detection system. Shannon and Kerry airports followed suit with the world’s larger airports expected to do the same in the near future.

“It is an opportunity for anyone travelling from here to Dublin and passengers should consider that,” she added.

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