Ross signals experts to review private sector option for Dublin Airport’s terminal three

Passenger numbers this year set to break 25m record

The Minister for Transport Shane Ross wants experts to weigh the pros and cons of allowing private sector player to build and run a third terminal at Dublin Airport.

The Minister for Transport Shane Ross wants experts to weigh the pros and cons of allowing private sector player to build and run a third terminal at Dublin Airport.

 

Minister for Transport Shane Ross wants experts to weigh the pros and cons of allowing a private business to build and run a third terminal at Dublin Airport.

The Department of Transport plans to hire consultants to carry out a study of likely demand at the Republic’s three State-owned airports – Cork, Dublin and Shannon, up to 2050.

An invitation issued by the department for bids to carry out the study says that the review should recommend when a third terminal should be built at Dublin Airport, which is run by State company DAA.

The notice states that the consultants will be asked to “assess the relative advantages and disadvantages of the funding and operation of terminal three by the existing airport operator in comparison to being operated on an independent basis”.

The department also wants the winning bidder to outline the regulations and laws that are likely to be needed to ensure fair competition between the third terminal and the airport’s existing facilities.

Mr Ross said that airports are vital to the Republic’s trade links and tourism industry.

“To ensure that our airports are prepared for the longer term, I have asked that this review consider the development of the three State airports to 2050,” he said. “Consultants will also be asked to identify and prioritise new infrastructure which will be required in the coming years”

Speculation has been growing that Dublin would need a third terminal as it became clear that passenger numbers at the airport were poised this year to break the 25 million record set last year.

Fastest growing

Close to 19 million people had travelled through there in the first eight months of 2016, while independent figures released this week show that Dublin is the fastest growing airport in Europe.

DAA plans to spend an estimated €320 million on a new runway to cater for the extra traffic. The State company has not made any proposals to build a third terminal, although DAA has reserved a site for one should it be needed.

Mr Ross recently announced that the Government planned to commission a review of demand at State airports that would include considering a third terminal for Dublin.

A report earlier this year by economists Indecon suggested that any new terminal built at Dublin should compete with the existing facilities to help lessen the airport’s dominance and reduce costs for airlines and thus passengers.

Reduce flights

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary told a Fine Gael gathering, which included several Cabinet Ministers, that his airline should be allowed develop and run the third terminal.

His company said recently that it intended to reduce flights from Dublin slightly next year because of what it said was a lack of clarity over discounts offered by the airport to encourage airlines to grow traffic.

On Friday the company said: “We are always in favour of improved airport infrastructure provided it is built at a low cost and does not lead to increased airport charges”.

When Dublin Airport was planning terminal two, Ryanair sharply criticised the proposal and also said it could build a new facility for less money.

The department issued the tender notice seeking bids from consultants to carry out the review late on Friday.

Neither DAA nor Aer Lingus would comment. But Aer Lingus and other airlines want the airport to tackle more immediate issues such as a squeeze on aircraft parking and facilities for long-haul and transfer passengers.

Dublin is by far the Republic’s busiest airport. Last year, eight out of every 10 people who few in or out of the State went through there.

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