Irish airline Aer Lingus has apologised to customers after a major technical failure meant it had to cancel flights to and from Dublin Airport involving UK or European destinations after 2pm.
Footage on social media showed thousands of people queueing outside Terminal 2 at the airport after digital systems failed.
The airline said that customers affected by the disruption will be able to change their travel plans free of charge.
Aer Lingus also said it was endeavouring to operate some flights that were originally scheduled to depart before 2pm but added “as we are relying on manual process for these flights, there remains a risk of cancellation”.
We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused in this period. We are working to resolve the connection issues as soon as possible.
— Aer Lingus (@AerLingus) September 10, 2022
An initial statement said: “Due to a major incident with a network provider, our cloud-based systems enabling check-in, boarding and our website are currently unavailable.
“A UK network provider servicing the cloud-based system has experienced a major break in connectivity impacting both primary and secondary connectivity.
“At this time the provider has not been able to give Aer Lingus an estimate of the time when the break in connectivity will be restored.
“Unfortunately, this is causing severe disruption to Aer Lingus services today.
“Consequently, all flights originally scheduled to depart from Dublin Airport for European and United Kingdom destinations from 2pm onwards today have had to be cancelled.”
The airline later added that flights scheduled to depart to Dublin Airport from Europe from 2pm onwards today have also had to be cancelled, with the exception of flights from Portugal and Spain, which it said it planned to operate, albeit with delays.
It said flights originally scheduled to depart to Dublin from the United Kingdom from 2pm onwards were cancelled and flights to and from the Aer Lingus bases in Cork, Shannon and Belfast are planned to operate, albeit with delays and risk of short-notice cancellations.
It added that Aer Lingus regional flights (operated by Emerald Airlines) are currently planned to operate today, albeit with delays and risk of short-notice cancellations.
The airline said it was unable to communicate directly with customers but asked them not to travel to Dublin airport.
The airline said: “We sincerely apologise to all customers impacted by today’s disruption and cancellations.
“Any customer impacted by today’s disruptions will be able to change their travel plans, free of charge either through our call centre or social media channels.
“We will advise customers when IT systems are restored and this change option is fully available to our customers.
“As soon as systems are restored our teams will work to re-accommodate those impacted as efficiently as possible, and share information regarding customers’ rights and the airlines’ obligations.
“We are working intensively with our system partners and their network partners to resolve the connection issues as soon as possible.”
Due to ongoing @AerLingus IT issues, the airline has confirmed the cancellation of all @AerLingus flights to the UK & Europe that were due to depart Dublin Airport after 2pm today (Saturday). Impacted passengers should contact @AerLingus regarding next steps. pic.twitter.com/XnZLgpCFpB
— Dublin Airport (@DublinAirport) September 10, 2022
In a tweet, Dublin Airport said impacted passengers should contact the airline directly about next steps.
The airport also said that no other airlines are affected.
Customers reported long queues at the airport on Saturday as Aer Lingus check in for earlier flights was being handled manually.
Lisa Webb from Which? said: “Aer Lingus’ sudden cancellations of flights to and from the UK and Europe will cause thousands of passengers distress and anxiety when it comes to their travel plans.
“In events such as these, airlines should be offering the option of a refund or to reroute passengers on any reasonable route as quickly as possible, using other airlines where necessary.
“Aer Lingus must also give clear information to affected customers about their entitlement to compensation.”