Regulator to rule on plan to cut Dublin Airport passenger charges

Commission for Aviation Regulation set to publish decision next week

The Commission for Aviation Regulation in May proposed cutting the Dublin Airport’s charges to €7.50 a head for the next five years, from €9.30.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation in May proposed cutting the Dublin Airport’s charges to €7.50 a head for the next five years, from €9.30.

 

Regulators will rule next week on plans to cut Dublin Airport’s passenger charges in a move likely to anger the gateway’s owner, DAA.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) in May proposed cutting the airport’s charges to €7.50 a head for the next five years, from €9.30, but said it would rule finally on the issue in the autumn.

It is understood that the commission intends publishing its decision on the charges, which Dublin Airport levies on airlines, at some point next week.

Aviation industry sources are also speculating that the regulator may not reduce the charges by as much as originally proposed. The CAR did not comment on this.

DAA’s chief executive, Dalton Philips, branded the original proposal as flawed. He warned that it threatened the State company’s plans to invest €1.8 billion over the next five years in expanding Dublin Airport to allow it handle up to 40 million passengers from the 31.5 million that passed through there in 2018.

Dublin is already building a new runway. The airport needs to add aircraft stands, piers and new boarding gates to cater for a predicted increase in passengers over coming years.

Plans

According to DAA, those plans require charges to remain unchanged between 2020 and the end of 2024, the period that next week’s commission ruling will cover.

The company argues that cutting its charges could hit its credit rating, which would affect its ability to borrow cash to finance the proposed expansion.

It has also pointed out that its charges are between 30 and 40 per cent lower than those of most comparable rivals.

Both Aer Lingus and Ryanair, DAA’s biggest airline customers, believe that the company can extend its facilities while cutting charges.

Aer Lingus chief executive Seán Doyle has said that, if needed, the airport could be given the scope to increase charges again towards the end of the 2020-2024 period.

Publishing the original proposal, CAR commissioner Cathy Mannion said the cut in charges would allow Dublin Airport to build key infrastructure that would would significantly increase its capacity.

The CAR sets Dublin’s charges as the airport is the Republic’s biggest and has a dominant position in the market.