Review to begin into Ireland’s airport capacity

Review expected to recommend timeframe for development of Terminal 3 at Dublin

Dublin airport’s Terminal 2, which opened in 2010

Dublin airport’s Terminal 2, which opened in 2010

 

Oxford Economics and Cambridge Economics Policy Associates have been selected to undertake a review of the capacity needs for Ireland’s State airports.

The review, which was announced last year by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, concerns the long-term development of Ireland’s State airports through to 2050. In addition to identifying capacity requirements, the review will identify priorities for infrastructure provision at Dublin, Shannon and Cork airports.

In the case of Dublin airport, the review is expected to recommend the timeframe for the development of Terminal 3, its appropriate design and optimum location.

A Ryanair spokesman told The Irish Times that the company believed in a low-cost third terminal, “but only if it’s operated by anyone other than the DAA [Dublin Airport Authority] monopoly”.

“Dublin airport cannot grow at the moment because of the runway capacity restrictions. To resume traffic and tourism growth we urgently need a second runway and a competing third terminal,” the company spokesman added.

Development of Cork and Shannon airports as key tourism and business gateways is to be one of the objectives that the review takes into account, while the development of Dublin airport as a secondary hub serving global markets is the primary aim.

Holistic view

While welcoming the announcement, Matthew Thomas, chief executive of Shannon Group, said: “We are surprised that it [the review] does not take a holistic view of Irish airport capacity as was committed to in the Government’s national aviation policy”.

“Shannon and Cork’s available capacity could be part of the solution to alleviating congestion at Dublin airport. In particular, the review needs to look at how best to maximise the use of the existing State infrastructure to benefit the west of Ireland economy.”

According to tender documents released last year, the department estimates the cost of the review will exceed €135,000.

“I have asked that this review consider the development of the three State airports to 2050 because, in these times of increasing uncertainty, ensuring that our airports are prepared for the longer term is more important than ever,” said Minister for Transport Shane Ross.

Prioritised

“That is why I have prioritised the need for an assessment on the capacity requirements at the airports, including the merits of a third independent terminal at Dublin airport.”

The review of State airports was not due to be taken until 2018. However, Mr Ross brought it forward in light of “projected passenger growth and the decision by the DAA to proceed with the construction of the new runway project at Dublin airport”, a spokesman told The Irish Times.

The department anticipates that the review will be finished by the end of this year.

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