Dublin Airport’s biggest customer, Ryanair, has lodged a planning appeal against approval for a €200 million tunnel planned for the airport.
Last month Fingal County Council granted planning permission to airport operator DAA for the tunnel under the airport’s crosswind runway.
The planned tunnel is 700m long with the overall alignment being 1.1km in length from “ramp to ramp”.
The airport operator lodged the plans “to improve the safety and efficiency of the airfield”.
The council granted planning permission after its planner concluded that the proposed development “entails a critical airfield operational safety project”.
On Tuesday, An Bord Pleanála confirmed that appeals against the decision have been lodged by Ryanair and local residents group SMTW Environmental DAC.
DAA has also lodged an appeal against conditions attached to the planning permission.
It is understood that the operator appeal predominantly relates to technical issues, while the airport operator is also seeking to clarify the application of a planning contribution fee relating to the construction of temporary buildings.
The underpass is seen as a key part of the operator’s €1.9 billion capital investment plan and according to the operator “will provide both direct and indirect benefits to all operators at the airport”.
The council granted planning permission last month after its planner in the case concluded that the proposal would not give rise to significant environmental effects.
Dublin Airport is unofficially divided into an eastern campus, which hosts most of the airport’s infrastructure, and a western campus mainly used for cargo, with crosswind runway 16/34 bisecting the two campuses.
With the opening of the new north runway last year, the means of access between the eastern and western campuses across runway 16/34 was no longer considered viable by DAA.
Planning documentation said the Irish Aviation Authority advised that the continued use of the surface crossing after the opening of the north runway was unsustainable from a safety perspective.
In documents lodged with Fingal Co Council, consultants for the airport operator, said the new tunnel was efficient in operational terms and robust in safety terms.
If the planning permission is upheld by the appeals board, construction on the project is estimated to take about three years.
On behalf of Ryanair, Ray Ryan of BMA Planning told Fingal County Council that “if the current underpass project is allowed to proceed, it will contribute towards an excessively high per passenger price cap and damage the recovery of Irish aviation, which depends on the cost competitiveness of Dublin Airport”.
SMTW Environmental DAC told the council that based on an estimated four vehicle movements per hour in both directions, it was difficult to comprehend the planned DAA spend on the project.