WESTON Airport’s owners said they were obliged to closed down the airport today and tomorrow, Friday, 11 April, due to a lack of air traffic controllers.
Users of the airport were informed of the decision on Monday, 7 April.
Some were not very happy.
Kieran O’Connor, who runs the Weston based National Flight Centre, said they had to postpone training flights.
Brian Conneely, whose Galway based engineering company took over the airport fifteen months ago, confirmed the closure.
He told the Leader that one of the controllers was, unusually for the individual, ill and due to legal regulations over rest breaks a replacement was not available.
The Irish Aviation Authority confirmed the closure but its spokesperson, Tony Lane said while the IAA has to be legally informed of such a closure it did not have any issues with it. Neither did the IAA advise management to close for the two days.
Mr. Conneely told the Leader that the first fifteen months had been “tough” for them, not helped by postponement of flights due to bad weather.
He said a third person is being trained to alleviate problems like this one but that person will not be fully trained and ready to operate until the end of this month.
A fourth controllers will also being trained shortly.
He said the controller due to work today and tomorrow has not been ill in a decade.
He said the two day break would enable them to do runway servicing and cleaning during daylight
Mr. Conneely said South Dublin County Council was cooperating with Weston and the airport was building up its executive traffic.
He said around 60 people are employed at Weston.
He also said one company was considering setting up a private subscription flight service which could enable the public to take flights from Weston to an airport at Boggins Hill in the UK in the UK, a possible alternative to using Dublin airport, for some.