herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

All is eerily silent and deserted

Cork Airport was eerily deserted today after the devastating crash which has rocked the aviation industry.

The only break in the quietness was from two cranes diligently picking at the debris from the crash site.

Inside the airport, a screen revealed that all flights until late afternoon have been cancelled or diverted.

Shops are open, but no one is inside.

A handful of staff members walked around, waiting for notification of when normality would resume.

The airport was, by all accounts, stuck in limbo.

Cafes opened for business, but there were no customers to avail of their services.

The only faces that were seen wandering around were those of the staff, who arrived to work their shifts as normal.

And in spite of the fact that there were no passengers, airline workers turned up, to sit at empty check-in desks.

Coaches were arranged to meet the hundreds of passengers who still arrived here this morning in the hopes of catching a flight. Queues of buses turned up to collect despondent travellers outside the departure gate.

And as the buses left the airport for Shannon, passengers told how they were simply grateful to have anywhere to go at all.

Two young women, Debbie Lonergan (25) and Jennifer Kelly (26), had been waiting for hours before boarding their bus but were happy to be on the move. "After yesterday, we thought we wouldn't be able to go at all," Debbie said.

A number of Aer Lingus cabin crew turned up for their shifts and sat at the check-in-desk -- but had no one to serve.

One Aer Lingus member of staff, who has been working with the airline for several years, said that he had never seen Cork Airport so quiet.

"It was very busy yesterday up until about 2.15," he said. "There was a lot of shock, I felt it when I went home."

Rather than descending into chaos, the airport, up until now one of the busiest in the country, has been engulfed in mourning, with the remains of yesterday's crash still visible from a distance, although the fog has worsened, and blocks the view.

cmcbride@herald.ie

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