IrishAero – Irish Aviation Research Institute fully supports raising the passenger cap from 32 million at Dublin Airport and calls the planning permission application to be considered under the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006 .

This is for the common good , to generate further economic growth for Ireland Inc, through new airline and route development creating new job and tourism opportunities , ensuring continued development of Dublin Airport currently the fifth largest European airport for connectivity to North America.

The reasons for supporting raising the passenger cap are as follows:

1. Raising the passenger cap from 32 million to 40 million passengers per annum will directly create up to 8,000 new jobs. For each additional 1 million passengers per annum creates 1,000 new jobs on-site and another 2.1 jobs are created indirectly or through induced effects, supporting 2,950 jobs nationally . Dublin Airport contributes a total of €9.6 billion in gross value added (GVA) to the Irish economy and supports or facilitates 116,100 jobs in Ireland, according to a new study by InterVistas, found that Dublin Airport is a key conduit to the equivalent of 2.3% of the national economy.

2. Dublin Airport is strategically positioned for growth opportunities with new north runway 28R build at cost of €350 million , allowing Dublin Airport to develop efficient optimized operations. The InterVistas report stated Dublin Airport is forecast to grow by around 3.7% per annum between 2025 and 2030. This would see passenger numbers potentially reach 39.6 million, with forecasts predicting those numbers could reach 46.6 million by 2040 and 55 million by 2055. Dublin’s two runways enable capacity for up to 60 million passengers.

3. Dublin Airport based home carriers Aer Lingus, Emerald Airlines and Ryanair are operating the most fuel efficient aircraft with small noise contour, through significant capital investment in new technology Airbus A320Neo family, ATR72-600, and Boeing 737 MAX Family aircraft . Today 96.3% of aircraft in Dublin Airport meet the ICAO Chapter 42 noise standard. Furthermore daa announced a new Incentive Scheme for airlines to reduce CO₂ Emissions with new sustainability measures focused on new aircraft types, effective from 31 March 2024.

4. Dublin Airport ‘s Peripheral location on edge of European airspace is to our advantage, allowing for the most fuel efficient climb and descent profiles developed collaboratively by stakeholders, enabling Dublin Airport to grow as the fifth largest North Atlantic hub, minimizing slot delays, allowing optimized flight operations to enter oceanic airspace 20 to 30 minutes after departure.

5. daa has very ambitious plans to enhance Dublin Airport ground connectivity. Dublin Airport plans for the development of a new bus facility. The daa has secured commitments from operators that they will deliver a seat for every passenger from 2024 onwards, with more than 35 million bus seats expected to be available by 2025. Also bus operators have also committed to increase capacity further in subsequent years if demand requires.

Secondly daa, the operator of Dublin Airport, outlined its support for the MetroLink project, which would provide an efficient transport link between Swords, Dublin Airport and Dublin city centre for staff and passengers. Addressing An Board Pleanála’s oral hearing into the MetroLink project daa called for the expedient delivery of Metrolink as a key element of the growth of Dublin Airport beyond 40 million passengers per annum.

Thirdly in a keynote Fingal Chamber breakfast speech daa CEO Kenny Jacobs supported early delivery of planned heavy railway connection from Clongriffin station on Dublin to Belfast line as part of Government’s National Development Plan 2040.

6. daa, the operator of Dublin and Cork airports has signed up to Toulouse Declaration on Future Sustainability and Decarbonisation of Aviation. The Daa welcomed the adoption by the European Parliament of a new a deal which aims to increase the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), bring down prices and set binding targets for airlines in Europe regarding their use of sustainable aviation fuels. The future development of a new SAF fuel farm at Dublin Airport in due course supported by government policy , can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to traditional jet fuel.

daa 7 February unveiled details of 20 environmental sustainability initiatives being rolled out at Dublin Airport, which will accelerate both airports’ climate and sustainability related ambitions, including achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. The projects are also matched by a planned investment of more than €400 million as part of the company’s recent Infrastructure Application to Fingal County Council, that will make operations at Dublin Airport amongst the most environmentally friendly of any peer airport in Europe.

7. Dublin Airport’s connecting traffic from UK Provincial airports is highly efficient versus peers in Europe utilizing the 72 seat Aer Lingus Regional ATR72-600 platform, operated by Emerald Airlines as the most fuel efficient regional aircraft , with a 45% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to similar-size regional jets, enabling passengers to connect to Aer Lingus growing North American route network. European hubs AMS, CDG, FRA, LHR, ZRH rely almost exclusively regional jets for feed.

8. Dublin Airport has the largest short-haul route network (150 +) versus nearest connecting hubs airports at London Heathrow and Manchester Airport making it highly efficient. This enables connectivity through to destinations in North American leveraging route network of Dublin home based carriers and Europe and European/North America carriers, enabling passengers to self connect point to point or through franchise and code-share partnerships. This is a unique competitive advantage with US CBP facility.

9. The Irish Government’s National Development Plan and National Planning Framework 2040 clearly outlines the strategic role of Dublin Airport to deliver high quality international connectivity and the Government Aviation policy 2015 supports the development of Dublin Airport as a secondary hub and to enable services to operate to global emerging markets without weight restrictions.

10. Fingal County Draft Development 2023-2029 states “Dublin Airport is of vital importance to the Irish economy and acts as the principal international gateway for trade, inward investment and tourism. The aviation sector is one of the most important components of Fingal’s local economy. The aviation sector is multifaceted and includes sectors such as aviation safety, security, regulation, governance, financing, air cargo, aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), aircraft leasing, ground handling, ground transport, catering, and customer services. Dublin Airport is nationally significant due to its employment base, passenger throughput and air freight services and it remains the primary economic hub in Fingal.”

“A key national strategic policy is for Dublin Airport to be developed as a secondary hub, which will require a significant level of airport infrastructure, terminal facilities, runway capacity and surface access. The airport is a primary contributor to Ireland having one of the highest connectivity levels on the continent relative to the size of its population and economy.” – Fingal County Draft Development Plan 2023-2029.

The National Planning Framework (NPF) considers Dublin Airport to be of strategic importance both to the functioning and competitiveness of the economy of Ireland.

The Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) recognises Dublin Airport as a key national asset to Ireland’s economic success which is linked with its global connectivity to trade and tourism markets and requires support to ensure it continues as an economic driver.

This is further evidenced by ACI Europe stating Air transportation offers access to new markets, which in turn enable businesses to achieve greater economies of scale. InterVISTAS analysis found that a 10% increase in connectivity was associated with an increase in GDP per capita of 0.5%.

Image Credit: Dublin Airport

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