Dublin Airport: O’Leary slams ‘local looneys’ making ‘false claims’ about plane noise

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has said people who claim Dublin Airport is too noisy are making things up.
James Wilson
James Wilson

12.48 1 Mar 2024

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Dublin Airport: O’Leary slams...

Dublin Airport: O’Leary slams ‘local looneys’ making ‘false claims’ about plane noise

James Wilson
James Wilson

12.48 1 Mar 2024

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The future of Dublin Airport should not be decided by “local looneys” who are making “false claims” about noise, Michael O’Leary has said. 

Dublin Airport’s application to increase its passenger cap from 32 million to 40 million is currently being assessed by Fingal County Council. 

Ryanair is strongly in favour of increasing the cap and CEO Michael O’Leary told Newstalk Breakfast it is ridiculous the decision has been left to a local authority. 


“This is a national infrastructure issue,” he said. 

“You cannot have access on and off the island of Ireland delegated to a couple of county councillors in Fingal and a couple of, frankly, local looney objectors making false claims about noise. 

“It’s the only gateway on and off the island of Ireland… most visitors from Europe want to come to Dublin, some may go down the country as well. 

“If we can’t grow, why did we open a second runway last year which takes capacity in the airport up to 60 million passengers? Why did we spend 300 million on that if we’re not going to use it?” 

Dublin Airport is currently operating at full capacity and Mr O’Leary said that if the passenger cap is not lifted, then airlines will simply choose to invest in other airports overseas.

“Dublin Airport is losing routes, traffic and jobs to other European airports,” he said. 

“In the last month, we’ve switched four aircraft away from Dublin to southern Italy. 

“We had planned to put those aircraft in Dublin but we can’t. 

“There’s no room for them because of this 15-year-old, entirely bogus and artificial planning restriction.” 

Michael O'Leary and Ciara Kelly. Michael O'Leary and Ciara Kelly discuss the future of Dublin Airport. 29/02/2024. Image: Newstalk

Some local residents have raised concerns about noise pollution but Mr O’Leary said these worries were “mythical and false” - thanks to improvements in technology. 

“Noise has dramatically declined,” he said. 

“The flight paths are designed in such a way that the aircraft are taking off higher and so by the time they’re over Ashbourne or Ballyboughal… they’re generating about 45 decibels or noise - which is about the same as an average conversation.

“Nobody’s being kept awake at night.”

Terminal 1 (T1) at Dublin Airport.

In 2022, aviation accounted for 2% of global carbon emissions but Mr O’Leary described the issue as a “distraction”. 

“We’ve invested about $20 billion (€18.5 billion) in new aircraft that carry about 20% more passengers but reduce CO2 emissions by 20% and noise by a further 50%,” he said. 

“I think the bigger issue here is our economic objectives; we’re sending 40 or 50 aircraft to countries all over Europe who don’t seem to have an issue with the emissions - they want our growth in tourism, they want our newer aircraft.

“Yet in Ireland, we can’t allocate any of this growth to Ireland because we have an artificial cap on Dublin Airport.” 

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has declined to publicly take a position on the issue of the passenger cap, insisting it is a matter for Fingal County Council. 

Meanwhile Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is a strongly in favour of increasing the cap.

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Main image: Michael O'Leary. 

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