Second runway at Dublin Airport to be deferred

Parallel runway unlikely to be built until after 2019

A second runway at Dublin airport is unlikely to be built until after 2019 according Dublin Airport Authority documents.

The authority is seeking consultants to devise a masterplan to direct how to develop the airfield in the absence of a second runway.

Permission for Terminal 2 and for a second runway at the airport was granted by An Bord Pleanála six years ago. While the new terminal was constructed, the authority announced in December 2008 that it intended to postpone development of the new parallel runway due to decline in passenger numbers.

The runway was expected to cost in the region of €300 million.


The Commission for Aviation Regulation has said the authority would only be able to recoup the cost of the runway through airport charges if and when passenger numbers recover to peak levels of 23.5 million. The airport was used by 19.2 million passengers last year.

The authority’s current masterplan which was published in 2010 and was due to run until 2035, envisaged the new runway being in operation by last year. The authority is seeking a new interim masterplan which will reflect the fact that the runway was not built and is unlikely to be constructed within the current decade.

In its tender documents the authority notes that “circumstances have changed” since the preparation of the 2010 masterplan.

“A considerable amount of time has elapsed since the preparatory studies were completed for this project, passenger traffic fell by 20 per cent and new business opportunities are emerging that need to be provided for.”

The biggest change, the authority says, has been the decision to defer the construction of the runway.

“The most significant deviance from the 2010 Masterplan is that it presumed the delivery of a parallel runway by the year 2012.

“As the parallel runway has not been delivered, an interim update of the 2010 masterplan is required.”

It should take into account the business needs of the airport and should not be dependent on the delivery of a second runway.

“The general outlook for this interim updated Masterplan will be to the year 2019, which is likely to bring us to the end of the next regulatory period, but, more importantly, it shall reflect the period within which Dublin airport is likely to remain a single runway operation.”

The authority says it sees the updating of the masterplan as a “stepping stone” towards the realisation of the full plan.

The interim plan should provide for the most practical, efficient use of the existing infrastructure – the airfield terminals and piers.

Specifically consultants will be required to provide a plan for the future growth requirements on the airfield, create a framework for sustainable development that meets regulatory and legislative requirements as well as environmental considerations, and make provision for additional aviation business opportunities.

While the interim plan must not be dependent on the construction of a new runway, it must safeguard the eventual delivery of a parallel runway which remain a “key plank of the airport’s development” the authority says.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times