Dublin Airport Authority (daa) in Ireland has announced that army personnel will be kept on standby to support Dublin airport cope with security in the event of staff shortages during an increase in Covid-19 cases.

The Irish Government has agreed to the request, which was made by Transport Minister Eamon Ryan on behalf of daa, reported the BBC.

The army will receive basic security screening training and be put on reserve to assist the airport should staff be hit by the Covid-19 surge.

In a statement, daa said: “As recently as last weekend, we have started to see the impact of the current rise in Covid-19 cases in the aviation sector, with 13 flights cancelled by one carrier last Sunday alone, citing an outbreak of Covid-19 amongst its staff as a key contributory factor.”

By keeping defence forces on standby mode, daa also intends to address the security queuing challenges the airport would see due to the busy summer period ahead.  

Officials said that the airport has experienced an increase in passenger volumes, with the past weekend being the busiest since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The daa made a 25% staff cut at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Last month, its chief executive admitted this was too serious a cut, reported Reuters.

Passenger traffic at the airport is now at more than 90% of 2019 levels, and according to Ryan, the airport expects another 10% rise in the upcoming weeks.