DAA may appeal ruling to cut passenger charges

Regulator said charges should be reduced by up to 18%

The Commission for Aviation Regulation sets the fees that Dublin Airport charges airlines for the passengers who fly from the facility. Photograph: iStock

The Commission for Aviation Regulation sets the fees that Dublin Airport charges airlines for the passengers who fly from the facility. Photograph: iStock

 

Dublin Airport owner DAA could challenge a ruling by regulators to cut passenger charges by up to 18 per cent to an average of €7.87 from next year.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation, which sets the fees the airport charges airlines for passengers, said on Thursday it was cutting the charge to an average of €7.87 a head over the five years to 2024.

The commission said this would be an 11 per cent cut on 2019’s price cap of €8.81 and predicted it would save airlines and passengers €320 million over five years.

DAA maintained that airlines actually pay a maximum of €9.30, making it an 18 per cent reduction.

The State-owned company said it was “hugely disappointed”. DAA had wanted to be allowed to charge €9.65, its 2018 cap, to fund a €2 billion expansion to cater for an expected increase in passengers to 40 million a year from around 30 million.

The company added that it would assess the impact of the commission’s ruling on those plans and decide whether to appeal the decision.

DAA can ask Minister for Transport Shane Ross to establish a panel to hear its appeal against the regulator’s ruling. If this fails the company could go to the High Court.

Any appeal would run into next year. The commission’s Cathy Mannion said the new charges would apply while that process was under way.

‘Disaster’

DAA chief executive Dalton Philips argued that Dublin’s charges were 30-40 per cent lower than rival European airports.

“This determination is a disaster for passengers and for the Irish economy, as we won’t be able to pay for the new and improved facilities that are required at Dublin Airport,” he warned.

Ms Mannion said the commission “allowed for €2.3 billion of investment” that would enable Dublin to cater for 40 million passengers a year.

She also warned that the commission could cut charges further if Dublin Airport failed to go ahead with key elements of the expansion plan.

Aer Lingus, one of Dublin’s two biggest airline customers, welcomed the decision.

“At the average pricing level of €7.87 in the final price determination, the Dublin Airport capital investment programme can be financed and delivered in full and is capable of being implemented as a matter of urgency,” said chief executive Sean Doyle.

Ryanair chief commercial officer David O’Brien said the ruling was “disappointing and a bad day for passengers”. Mr O’Brien said the commission was allowing the airport to increase current fees to what would amount to €16.50 for a passenger on a return trip in 2024.