Dublin Airport runway gets five-year planning extension

DAA’s €320m north runway project, stalled by downturn, now due to be built by 2020

Almost 28 million passengers passed through Dublin Airport last year, marking an increase of 11 per cent in passenger numbers on the previous year. Photograph: Kate Geraghty

Almost 28 million passengers passed through Dublin Airport last year, marking an increase of 11 per cent in passenger numbers on the previous year. Photograph: Kate Geraghty

 

DAA has been given five more years to build its planned €320 million north runway at Dublin Airport.

A 10-year planning permission for the runway project was granted in August 2007, but construction did not get under way due to the economic downturn and subsequent fall in passenger numbers.

Preliminary works to allow for the runway, mostly involving road realignment, began late last year. DAA (formerly known as Dublin Airport Authority) said it hopes to start work on the runway itself later this year and to have completed the project by 2020.

Passenger volumes needed to reach 25 million to make the additional runway financially viable, DAA said, a figure which was not exceeded until the end of 2015.

In 2008, numbers stood at 23.4 million but fell dramatically to 18.4 million in 2010.

Passenger increase

Both 2015 and 2016 set new records for Dublin Airport. Traffic grew by a total of 6.2 million passengers, or 29 per cent, over the two-year period, the company said.

Following the economic recovery and increased passenger numbers, the DAA announced last April that it intended to go ahead with the runway. However, planning permission for the project was due to expire in November of this year and the firm needed an extension of that time limit. Fingal County Council this week granted an extension of permission up to 2022.

Late night flights

However, it could not do that as part of an application for extension of the duration of permission. Instead, it plans to make a separate application to change these conditions.

The conditions cap the number of flights to and from the airport between 11pm and 7am at 65 once the new runway is functioning.

“Dublin Airport’s current runway infrastructure is at capacity during the peak hours and this must be addressed to enable future growth. The north runway will significantly improve Ireland’s connectivity, which plays a critical role in growing passenger numbers and sustaining the future economic development of Ireland,” DAA chief executive Kevin Toland has said.

However, he said the conditions limiting flying hours were “onerous” and would severely reduce the future operational capacity of the airport at key periods. “This has implications on our ability to support future traffic growth at the airport and we are looking at how this can be addressed,” he said.

The north runway has featured in successive county development plans since the 1970s.

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