The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) is to appeal planning restrictions on the number of night flights that can use its new runway. The facility is due to open in 2021.
The airport operator said it was also appealing a decision by the Commission for Aviation Regulation to reduce charges for airlines using the airport.
The DAA said the decision would pitch charges at less than “ 50 per cent of the levels of comparable airports worldwide” and warned of “yellow-pack” facilities at the airport.
Chief executive Dalton Philips said both cases were being taken in the national interest, given the strategic importance of the airport to the Irish economy.
Speaking at the construction site of the new €320 million runway, Mr Philips referred to opposition to night-time flights from local residents in the St Margaret’s area. He said the DAA had to take “a balanced view” of their concerns and the airport’s contribution to the economic growth of the State.
Mr Philips said the second airport runway, to be called the North Runway, would address “the bottleneck” that exists in Dublin as the airport is effectively “full” at key times of the day. He said a plane took off for or landed from Britain every nine minutes on average, while a transatlantic flight took off or landed every 40 minutes.
North Runway was granted planning permission in 2007, subject to 31 planning conditions. Following the appointment of Fingal County Council as noise regulator for the airport earlier this year, the airport said it would now appeal to the council to amend* two conditions. These were condition 3(d), which prohibits the use of North Runway for landings and take-offs between the hours of 11pm and 7am; and condition 5, which states that, on completion of construction of the new runway, the average number of night-time aircraft movements at the airport should not exceed 65 per night (11pm-7am).
Vital to success
Mr Philips said 65 flights would be about 50 per cent of current night-time flights. While “night-time” is between 11pm and 7am, in fact there are very few flights after after midnight, and the majority of take-offs and landings in this period occur at 5am-7am, he said.
Mr Philips added that flights at these hours were vital to the airport’s success and “if these conditions were applied, Dublin Airport would have fewer flights between 11pm and 7am with two runways than it currently has with one main runway”.
Mr Philips also said the authority had lodged an appeal with the aviation regulator on its decision to reduce airport charges paid by airlines by 22 per cent. He said the airport had hoped to invest €2 billion to improve and expand facilities and if the regulator’s decision were allowed to stand, there would be only “yellow-pack” services at the airport in future.
He also said the authority was offering to buy the homes of those affected at a 30 per cent premium on prices that did not take into an account the negative impact of the runway.
*This article was edited on September 20th, 2019