DAA asked IDA to make planning submission on runway restrictions

IDA later submitted observations on plan to Fingal County Council

Planning conditions had specified the new runway at Dublin Airport could not be used between 11pm and 7am and that night-time operations be limited to at most 65 flights. Photograph: iStock

Planning conditions had specified the new runway at Dublin Airport could not be used between 11pm and 7am and that night-time operations be limited to at most 65 flights. Photograph: iStock

 

Management at Dublin Airport asked the IDA to make a planning submission on runway restrictions, saying the support of the investment agency would be “absolutely crucial” to the facility’s cause.

DAA chief executive Dalton Philips wrote personally to IDA boss Martin Shanahan seeking his backing for easing operating restrictions on the airport’s new €320 million runway, which is due to open this year.

Mr Philips said he hoped the IDA would make its own submission, and included a list of recommended bullet points “to articulate” in it.

In a letter to Mr Shanahan, he wrote: “The support of the IDA during this process is absolutely crucial to the success of this application.

“We believe what we are proposing is fair, sensible and balanced for all stakeholders, and will safeguard Ireland’s connectivity to global markets. We, therefore, would appreciate your written support during this process by means of a submission to the planning authority.”

The IDA was among more than at least 250 parties who made observations on the runway planning, including major airlines, political representatives and local residents.

Planning conditions had specified the new runway could not be used between 11pm and 7am and that night-time operations be limited to at most 65 flights.

The DAA, in its letter to the IDA, said these restrictions would have a “profound impact” on operations, and undermine the vital role the runway could “play in Ireland’s recovery and future economic prospects”.

It said its proposals to soften the restrictions sought to “recognise and address the valid concerns of local residents” while protecting the economy.

Mr Philips concluded by saying his staff had already briefed IDA officials late last year, and would be happy to facilitate further briefings.

Following internal discussions, the IDA submitted its observations on the plan to Fingal County Council on January 29th, saying “any avoidable delays, increased costs, or reduction in flexibility” at Dublin Airport eroded national competitiveness and made Ireland less attractive for business.

Note of thanks

A couple of days later the DAA’s Mr Philips emailed his IDA counterpart Mr Shanahan a personal note of thanks.

“A huge thank you for your support on Dublin Airport’s North Runway,” he wrote. “Your submission is excellent – really strong. We’re most grateful.”

In other internal correspondence, DAA officials also thanked the IDA for what they described as “a super submission”.

An email from a DAA official said: “[It] makes some great points and I’m sure will be impactful. Thanks so much for IDA support – very much appreciated.”

A spokesman for the DAA said a number of bodies had either sought, or were provided with, points of fact on the North Runway planning application.

He said the planning application sought to overturn onerous conditions at Dublin Airport that would significantly affect operations.

The spokesman said: “In that context it was entirely appropriate to brief key stakeholders. The submissions of all interested parties are public and have been published by the planning authority.”

An IDA spokeswoman said: “IDA Ireland makes submissions to public processes where it feels there is potential impact on Ireland’s ability to win foreign direct investment.

“IDA Ireland’s policy team and experts within the wider organisation assess the merits of various proposals.

“IDA Ireland engages with stakeholders with an interest in progressing foreign direct investment and in conversations around infrastructural development that strengthens Ireland’s value proposition for FDI. International air connectivity to/from Ireland is of vital importance to Ireland’s FDI sector.”