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summer travel

How to navigate any potential madness in Dublin Airport this summer season

The DAA says that arriving at the advised time will help avoid the system becoming clogged.

SEPARATE YOUR LIQUIDS, arrive on time and don’t bring a car if you’ve no parking space booked.

This is some of the latest advice from the operators of Dublin Airport to passengers attempting to navigate the chaos of a trip to Swords.

Over of the June bank holiday weekend, the DAA are expecting a total of 425,000 passengers to pass through its doors, gates and security scanners.

55,000 people per day, under the DAA’s estimation, will be departing from the airport this weekend, more than the 50,000 of last year when chaotic scenes led to political intervention and ultimately the Defence Forces being put on standby.

Spokesperson for the DAA, Graeme McQueen, said: “Going into this year, we knew we had to be ready, we’ve had a concerted recruitment campaign since the start of the year. We’ve now got just over 800 security staff.”

McQueen told The Journal that the airport is operating at similar travel levels to 2019, where 32.9 million passengers travelled through its gates.

The DAA is keeping its recommendation that passengers arrive to the airport two hours before a short-haul flight and three hours before a long-haul flight this summer.

McQueen said: “Heed the travel advice, don’t arrive four or five hours in advance of your flight- there’s no need, you’re clogging up the system for other people. You’ll end up being bored in the airport and, you know, you’ll have to buy the kids two meals instead of one.”

The spokesperson added that with the additional staff they can manage and organise work flows much better and have staff on call to help with security queues if needed.

McQueen said the DAA believe enough has been done to prevent the similar situations to last year’s bank holiday from happening again.

Parking shortages

While the staffing shortages have been amended, Dublin Airport last week announced there was a shortage in parking spaces and told passengers to arrange alternative methods of transport to and from the airport if they did not have a space booked.

The operators of the airport have placed a bid for the Quick Park facility to provide them with an additional 6,200 spaces, a facility they closed during the covid-19 pandemic, but this has not yet been approved. 

“It’s around one fifth of the spaces that would normally be available at the airport. That’s put a huge squeeze on our own car-parks.” McQueen said.

McQueen added that the airport is unable to increase that number due to restrictions that Fingal County Council have placed on the land.

blue-long-term-car-park-dublin-ireland-full-problems-in-long-term-parking-full-parking-lot Dublin Airport's Blue long-term car park full in June 2022. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

McQueen told The Journal that passengers should book their parking as soon as possible to secure their slot, as they do not expect it to free up over the summer period.

The DAA don’t believe the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission review will be quick enough to allow them to open and purchase the Quick Park facility before the end of July or middle of August.

“Anyone knows they’re going to be travelling over the summer should get on the website and book your parking now,” McQueen added.

This week, Bus Éireann’s Expressway service said it has over 13,000 seats to Dublin Airport from the north-east, north-west and south-east available across this weekend, ahead of the estimated 425,000 people due to arrive.

Additionally, a record number of passengers – 20,000 – are expected to pass through Ireland West Airport in Knock in Mayo, a 20% rise compared to last year.

Over 120 flights are set to arrive and depart from the Mayo airport including its two new routes to London Heathrow by Aer Lingus and Lanzarote by RyanAir.

“The next generation of scanning technology”

According to Dublin Airport’s website, security in Terminal 2 opens at 4am and recommends that passengers “factor this in” when travelling to the airport.

The international airport’s “Size it, Bag it, Separate it” campaign reminds passengers how to prepare for security screening.

However, new x-ray scanners may soon make it so that bagging your small, 100ml shampoo and taking it out of your bag will be a thing of the past.

“C3 scanners are the next generation of scanning technology and are being rolled out by most airports around the world.” McQueen said.

The new C3 x-ray technology allows for all liquid, gels and other items that would previously have had to be put into clear sealed plastic bags, to remain inside passenger’s cabin bags.

The restriction on liquids of more than 100ml would no longer apply, meaning passengers can travel with larger quantities of liquids as long as they fit into a cabin bag.

However, it is still unclear just how quickly the rest of Europe and other countries are rolling out these scanners – meaning it is the responsibility of the passengers to know if they can return with over 100ml in liquid items.

“This is the future, this is what’s going to become the norm in airports around Europe and around the world. Passengers will like it I think, we just have a process that we need to go through here in Dublin,” McQueen added.

While the airport hope the new technology will speed up queues and benefit passengers, they will not be fully implemented into the capital’s airport until after the summer season.

McQueen said: “Between the two terminals, we’ve got 30 scanning lanes – which means we’ve got 30 scanning machines we’ve got to replace, so it will take us some time.”

Dublin Airport currently has five C3 scanners in total, three in Terminal 2 and two in Terminal 1, however passengers must still follow the liquid restrictions as the airport does not allow people to choose which scanner they would like to use.

Shannon Airport, in Co Clare, implemented the C3 x-ray technology into their terminal in October 2021 which halved security waiting times during trial runs.

Shannon Airport / YouTube

McQueen said it is still “hard to quantify” how much time will be shaved off the time it takes to get through security in Dublin Airport with the arrival of these new scanners, however said there are three unique things that they will bring forward.

“It’s safer, as it creates a 3D image of the bag, which makes it much easier to scan it and spot items quicker,” McQueen said.

McQueen added the new scanners have a “significantly lower” bag rejection rate, where the scanner does not successfully complete the scan and must be tried again.

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