The army will be put on standby to assist the Dublin Airport Authority (daa) in the running of Dublin Airport during busy periods this summer, it has emerged.
In recent weeks as holidaymakers flocked to the airport many passengers have missed their flights due to large queues at check-in desks and security lanes, which the daa blames on lack of staff resources.
While the daa said it is ‘satisfied’ the current measures it has in place are working, bosses are said to be apprehensive about the surge in Covid-19 cases which could result in staff absences.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs confirmed the army will be placed on standby and will be given basic training to assist airport staff when needed.
“While I recognise that the role of the Defence Forces is not normally to assist in the provision of services for a commercial airport, I have agreed to this request on a clear assurance that this is a distinct piece of work, provided in extreme circumstances, as a short-term emergency related contingency action and is in direct response to a letter from daa management to the Minister for Transport,” said Simon Coveney.
“The request is clearly defined in terms of the role and timeline, lasting no more than six weeks, in non-public facing duties.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said: “The daa has advised that its current operational plan, in place since the beginning of June, is working effectively and people are making their way through the airport safely and making their flights.
“However, given the heightened risk environment and the impact that a resurgence of Covid-19 could have on its staff and operations, daa proposed that it would be prudent at this juncture for initial, preparatory steps to be made to facilitate the potential deployment of the Defence Forces to the airport.”