Dublin Airport could generate €18.6bn for economy as a transatlantic hub

EY report says development of airport could create 34,000 jobs and boost economy

Aer Lingus has announced that it will fly direct to Montreal in Canada and Minneapolis St Paul in Minnesota next year. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Aer Lingus has announced that it will fly direct to Montreal in Canada and Minneapolis St Paul in Minnesota next year. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

 

Work on Dublin Airport’s €900 million expansion needs to be completed quickly to exploit an opportunity that could create 34,000 jobs and boost the economy by €1.24 billion a year, according to Aer Lingus chief executive Stephen Kavanagh.

A new report by Aer Lingus and accountants EY calculates that developing Dublin Airport as a transatlantic hub could create 33,950 jobs and boost the economy by €18.6 billion over the next 15 years, an average of €1.24 billion annually.

The airline published the EY report on Wednesday as it confirmed plans to begin flying from Dublin to Minneapolis in the US next July and to Montreal in Canada from August.

Speaking after publishing the report, Mr Kavanagh said that Dublin Airport owner DAA’s plans to spend €900 million extending aircraft parking and boarding facilities were needed to allow the gateway develop as a transfer point for passengers moving between transatlantic and European flights.

“We believe that those plans are fit for purpose,” he said. “But the challenge for all of us is the speed at which those plans will be delivered.”

Target

DAA chief executive Dalton Philips, who attended the EY report’s launch, has set a target of 2023 for completing the work at the airport.

Mr Kavanagh noted that talks between Aer Lingus and DAA on developing Dublin Airport had been positive. “There is alignment between Aer Lingus, the DAA and Government policy,” he said.

Part of the Government’s aviation strategy is to develop Dublin as a transatlantic hub. This would boost the number flights into the airport and lessen its dependence on routes solely serving the Republic.

EY’s calculations are based on Dublin attracting an extra five million transfer passengers a year by 2033.

The report’s author, Simon MacAllister, explained that this was the number of extra people the accountants believed the airport could draw by developing the infrastructure needed.

His report, Economic Impact of the Development of Dublin Airport as a Hub, estimates that the Republic’s tourist industry will reap €10.4 billion of the full benefit. Airport industries would get €7.9 billion.

Taxes

Those industries would end up paying €6 billion in taxes to the State, Mr MacAllister said. The EY partner explained that other airports, such as Reykjavik in Iceland and Dubai, had developed successful hub businesses by exploiting their geographic position.

Mr Kavanagh said that Aer Lingus chose Montreal as there is demand for travel between the Canadian city and French regional centres such as Bordeaux, Toulouse and others served by the airline.

Aer Lingus also identified strong demand for European services in Minneapolis-St Paul, the “twin cities” in the midwestern state of Minnesota.

A large Irish-American population, allied to the fact that multi-national investors in the Republic such as Medtronic and 3M are based in the region, helped bolster this demand.

Around 60 per cent of Aer Lingus transatlantic passengers come from North America, according to the airline’s chief executive.

In a statement, Mr Kavanagh noted that Aer Lingus has supported the development of Dublin as a hub since this became part of the Government’s national aviation strategy.

“Today’s report clearly demonstrates very significant economic benefits to Ireland which would flow from the development of such infrastructure,” he said.