Regulators uphold complaint about charges by Dublin Airport

Ryanair challenged levies on passengers and emissions discounts

Charges levied by Dublin Airport on airlines face a possible shake-up after regulators upheld complaints by Ryanair.

The airport intends charging airlines €13.05 for each departing passenger in summer and €9.30 in winter and €2.65 for each person transferring from one flight to another at the airport in summer and €2.10 for those transferring in winter.

However, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has told Dublin Airport, run by State company DAA, to review those fees ahead of the winter travel season’s start date on October 27th after upholding complaints by Ryanair.

The airline’s complaint challenged the gap between charges for departing and transferring passengers, saying among other things that the airport failed to provide transparent reasons for the differences, which amount to 80 per cent in summer and 77 per cent in winter.

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Ryanair also challenged charges for runway movements, based on aircrafts’ weight. Among other issues, the airline argued that larger aircraft flown by rivals paid less per tonne than the Boeing 737-800s that it operates.

In a third point, Ryanair maintained that Dublin’s low-emissions aircraft discount, meant to cut runway and passenger charges by 25 per cent, actually resulted in 12.5 per cent discounts.

It also argued that it proposes higher discounts to heavier aircraft, responsible for more emissions, while ignoring airlines’ efforts to adopt procedures that cut carbon dioxide output.

Dublin Airport proposed introducing a nitrogen oxide charge for each aircraft, anticipating possible breaches of European Union limits, which Ryanair warned would lead to higher charges for aircraft with lower carbon emissions.

The airline also questioned whether nitrogen oxide was an issue at the airport or in the Republic generally.

The IAA found for the airline’s complaints and decided that Dublin Airport should review its charges to comply with standards set out in EU regulations.

To allow time for consultation with airlines, the authority said the reassessed charges should take effect from October 27th.

Eddie Wilson, chief executive of Ryanair DAC, argued that the ruling confirmed that DAA’s price increases did not comply with EU regulation.

“This IAA ruling is great news for Irish citizens, visitors, who are being forced to pay some of Europe’s highest airport fees at Dublin to fund the DAA’s €3 billion gold-plated capital expenditure programme,” he said.

A DAA spokesman declared it was disappointing that Ryanair was challenging charges meant to deliver on its sustainability objectives.

“The ultra-low passenger charges at Dublin Airport, which are reinvested in passenger services at the airport, speak for themselves,” he said.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas