No need for third terminal at Dublin Airport, unions say

Ictu submission argues passenger growth can be met by two existing terminals

The development of a third terminal at Dublin Airport is not needed at this time, trade unions have maintained.

In a submission to the new review of future capacity requirements at the country's airports, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) argued that the projected growth in passenger numbers at Dublin Airport could be accommodated by the expansion and reconfiguration of the existing two terminals.

Ictu said if there was a need for a third terminal at some point in the future “it should be financed, owned and operated by the Dublin Airport Authority”.

“To allow the development of a privately owned and operated third terminal at Dublin Airport would undermine the strategic and economic importance of Dublin Airport and would contradict Government policy of developing Dublin Airport as a secondary hub.”


Ictu also maintained any such privately owned and operated terminal would have “the potential to negatively impact on the quality of employment at Dublin Airport”.

“We know of no other airport that has an independently owned and operated terminal in competition with other terminals and, in our view, it would make no sense to organise Dublin Airport on this basis.”

Close to 30 million passengers passed through Dublin Airport last year, an increase of 6 per cent on 2016. However, forecasts have suggested that, by 2050, it could be catering for 55 million people annually.

Future capacity

The State's national aviation policy, which was published in 2015, contained a commitment to carry out a review of future capacity needs at Ireland's State-owned airports, and last year Oxford Economics and Cambridge Economic Policy Associates (CEPA) were appointed to undertake this study.

Ictu said it had been approached by CEPA in February seeking its views on a potential third terminal at Dublin Airport.

It said the airport was a vital piece of economic infrastructure that supported more than 40,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“Based on the information we have received to date and based on the limited amount of research we have been able to conduct in the time available, we are not convinced that there is a requirement at this point for a third terminal at Dublin airport.

“We believe that the projected growth in passengers can be accommodated by the expansion and reconfiguration of terminals one and two.”

Unions said that while passenger numbers had been growing in recent years, there was “still some headroom before the current permitted number of passengers is reached”.

The trade union movement also said that construction of a second runway was about to commence at Dublin Airport and if a third terminal was to be built at the same time it would create significant operational difficulties for the day-to-day running of the airport.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent