US airlines demand Minister Eamon Ryan take urgent action over Dublin airport crisis

A group representing major North American airlines has written to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan demanding urgent action after “significant delays” and other issues that have hurt their services to and from the capital.

n the correspondence, American, Delta, United and Air Canada have warned the Government that the delays crisis at the airport is damaging travellers’ impression of Ireland, the airport and the airlines.

The airline group has also complained that their premium business class passengers “are forced to join the general queue” at Dublin Airport even though they have paid “significant sums” to use fast-track facilities and should be permitted to use them.

The four carriers have written to Mr Ryan under the umbrella of the influential Airlines for America (A4A) lobby group based in Washington DC.

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They have sought a meeting to discuss potential solutions as the peak of the busy summer season approaches.

The letter was sent to Mr Ryan last week and comes after more than 1,000 passengers missed their flights at Dublin Airport during the last weekend of May amid chaotic scenes.

“As is well documented in international media reports, A4A members and other airlines have been experiencing significant delays at Dublin of late,” the letter from Keith Glatz, A4A’s vice president of international affairs states.

The letter is also addressed to Tourism Minister Catherine Martin.

“We believe this issue will become even more urgent as passenger numbers increase during the peak summer travel season,” Mr Glatz added.

He said that the airlines are experiencing a “very busy” summer season in and out of Dublin, with more passengers than they carried during summer 2019.

Between them the North American carriers serve 13 destinations from Dublin including Chicago, New York, Dallas, Toronto, Boston and Philadelphia.

Delta expects to handle almost 1,500 arriving and departing passengers a day from the capital, while United expects close to 1,600 and American almost 2,000. Air Canada will handle more than 1,300.

“Without appropriate action to manage the increase in passenger volume, our passengers will continue to experience significant delays and missed connections,” said Mr Glatz in the letter.

He pointed out that in May, just 1 6.7pc of Air Canada’s flights departing Dublin were on time.

Only half of American’s flights left on schedule, while 23pc of Delta’s and just under 27pc of United’s managed to take off on time.

“These delays and missed connections inconvenience passengers and disrupt [the] airport and airport operations,” he said.

Mr Glatz said the airlines are also concerned that reduced mobility passengers are in some cases being “left stranded” in the airport “for long periods of time without wheelchair or other needed assistance”.

He said A4A also understands that the Government will not permit the DAA to issue temporary security passes to ground handling staff located abroad. He said that issuing such passes would help to ease congestion at the airport.

A spokeswoman for Mr Ryan last night said the letter and request for a meeting was being considered.

She said that Mr Ryan and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton hold “regular” meetings with Dublin Airport’s CEO, Dalton Philips and his management team, which she said will “continue until ministers are satisfied that difficulties persisting at the airport are satisfactorily resolved”.

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