April 19, 2024 Back to all news

daa, the operator of Dublin Airport, is pleased to confirm that the traditional Christmas blessing of the planes will continue to take place and be carried out by the chaplain of the Catholic Church at Dublin Airport, Fr Des Doyle.

daa is aware that other groups are also interested in performing blessings. daa respects all faiths and provides a multi-faith prayer room in Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport, providing people of all faiths, religions and spirituality with a sanctuary to retreat to when visiting the airport. 

daa is happy to engage with any other faith representative that wishes to perform religious or secular blessings at the airport. These will take place landside in accordance with the aviation regulator’s security protocols. 

Commenting, Kenny Jacobs, CEO of daa said: "daa is always looking to the future, but we respect tradition as well. Safety is paramount in the aviation industry and Fr Des’s security clearance has enabled him to support the spiritual needs of Dublin Airport employees and passengers for many years. The Christmas blessing is a cherished part of his ministry at the airport and we are delighted to be able to support the continuance of this 76-year tradition. We welcome people from all faiths and all walks of life to the airport and are committed to supporting all groups that wish to express their faith here.”

Background to the Blessing

The tradition began in 1947 with the blessing of an Aer Lingus aircraft, and since 1967 has taken place on Christmas Day when the airport is closed. New aviation security protocols introduced in January 2024 suggested the tradition might have to end. These restrict airside access to airport operations other than in exceptional circumstances. Due to the breadth of his role at the airport, Fr Doyle has undergone the same Garda vetting process as daa employees who require airside access. This enables him to be airside to counsel passengers and employees as well as perform other activities including the traditional blessing of the planes. Individuals without airside clearance will not be able to be facilitated on a temporary pass for similar events but will be supported to hold landside events. 

Separately Dublin Airport will also be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the completion of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church at Dublin Airport on July 26, 2024.