Dublin Airport facing "huge disaster" with new runway

Constraints will cost it millions of passengers, according to daa's Kevin Toland...

Daa boss Kevin Toland has told the constraints on Dublin Airport’s planned new runway would cause an immediate and marked drop in passenger numbers.

Toland told the Institute of International and European Affairs that it would be "horrific" and a "huge disaster" if the runway had to open with two key operating constraints still in place.

These constraints, which are attached to the new runway’s existing planning permission, would restrict the overall number of flights at the airport between 11pm and 7am, and also prohibit use of the new runway before seven in the morning. The airport currently handles 100 flights during that time period – the new cap would brig that number to 65.

The period from 5.30am to 7am is the busiest at Dublin Airport, handling 100 flights, and a period when the new runway would most be needed.

According to Toland, annual passenger numbers would fall by three million immediately in such a scenario and the cumulative loss over the next 20 years would be roughly 80 million. He also warned that airfares out of Dublin would likely rise and connectivity would fall in the nation's capital. 

Preliminary work has started on the new runway ahead of any decision by An Bord Pleanála whether to scrap the conditions in question. Daa hopes to complete the €320m project by 2020.

Speaking in Dublin yesterday, Toland said:

"That's been one of the key factors that has let us develop Dublin Airport so well over the past couple of years – building the long-haul business, which tends to come in early in the morning through to mid-morning.

"If you look at our position today, there are absolutely no restrictions on our business and nor should there be."

Daa is currently preparing a new environmental impact study and will be submitting it to the relevant authority in the next couple of months, with the aim of getting those conditions removed.