The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has began the construction of a new 86.9 metre-high air traffic control tower at Dublin Airport.
The IAA says this is required by 2021 to facilitate the parallel runway operations.
The construction phase is expected to be completed by 2019, when it will then be handed to IAA Technology and Operations.
The IAA will then begin installation, commissioning and testing of the equipment and systems.
The new tower will be ready for single runway operation during the first half of 2020 - and will be ready to facilitate parallel runway operations by 2021, when the Northern parallel runway is introduced at the airport.
Commenting on the project, IAA Chief Executive-Designate Peter Kearney said: "Currently, the new ATC tower, as one of the tallest structures in Ireland, is clearly visible to all passengers travelling via Dublin.
"Ireland as an island nation is hugely dependent upon aviation and therefore the safe and efficient management of air traffic growth remains a key driver for our economy.
"Dublin Air Traffic Control handled 223,195 total terminal movements and close to 30 million passengers in 2017.
The current Dublin Airport air traffic control tower | Image: Michael Kelly
"The IAA continues to invest in its state-of-the-art air traffic management system and in the development of our staff, to deliver a world class service to the highest safety standards.
"I am proud of the team effort to bring the new tower to this stage of development and I’m looking forward to its operational usage in 2020."
The design concept for the new tower was created by the Scott Tallon Walker Design Team, in association with IAA experts.
David Cahill, architect at Scott Tallon Walker, said: "The height of the new Dublin air traffic control tower will ensure that it becomes a significant feature on the Dublin skyline, however, upon completion, it will still be a slim, purposeful and elegant structure."
It will see:
- An 86.9 metre-high tower to ensure appropriate visibility of runways, thresholds, manoeuvring areas and stands
- A control cab to facilitate up to 12 positions
- A base building to accommodate staff facilities, electronic systems and mechanical plant space to provide technical support and control of the equipment and systems and the building environment
The current Dublin air traffic control tower will remain operational "for contingency purposes" when the new tower is up and running.
An Bord Pleanála granted Dublin Airport planning permission to build a 3,110 metre runway in 2007, known as North Runway.