‘Delight’ after airport U-turn on banning plane blessings

‘Delight’ after airport U-turn on banning plane blessings Photo: Wikipedia

Dublin airport has done a one-eighty on banning the blessing of planes in news that has “delighted” the chaplain.

Last week the airport announced that due to “changes in security protocols” the tradition of blessing planes ‘airside’ would be stopped, causing considerable backlash.

However, Fr Des Doyle of Dublin Airport Church, Our Lady Queen of Heaven, revealed to The Irish Catholic that he was contacted directly by the DAA asking if he could continue with the 75-year-old tradition.

Fr Doyle said of the decision: “I’m delighted. It chimes perfectly with the supportive relationship between the DAA and the chaplaincy. That is the way it has been, so the original announcement was kind of out of keeping with that, I don’t know where it came from.”

For the last 16 years Fr Doyle has been going airside to bless planes at the request of airlines.

He said: “I have always found the DAA very supportive, that’s why I was surprised by the whole thing and nothing was said to me about it directly until I got the last communication. They said they would be delighted if I would continue it [blessing planes airside], from their point of view anyway – and they’re just facilitating the airlines who want it.”

Fr Doyle continued saying “in fact it’s airport workers who built the church years ago and quite a number of them are still involved” and the chaplaincy continues to receive “great support” from current airport staff.

Following a query from this paper last week about the initial decision to stop the blessing, a DAA spokesman said: “Due to recent changes to security protocols, airside access is now restricted to airport operations only. For this reason, non-operational activities can no longer be facilitated airside.

“We are currently working on a new approach to facilitating the traditional Christmas blessing of the planes at Dublin Airport.”

Fr Doyle added he has enhanced security at the airport and keeps up to date with relevant training