Airport seeks removal of runway restrictions

The construction of Dublin Airport’s proposed €320m second runway may yet run into difficulty despite yesterday being given the green light.

Planning permission for the runway, which the Dublun Airport Authority (DAA) predicts would deliver significant economic benefits for the country as well as facilitating the airport’s growth, was granted in 2007 with 31 conditions attached — two of which the DAA is looking to have lifted.

The two contested conditions would render the second runway unusable from 11pm to 7am and restrict the average number of takeoffs and landings to 65 between the same hours.

“The first constraint would be like adding extra capacity on the M50 to deal with congestion and not be able to use that lane first thing in the morning, so that won’t help us alleviate capacity constraints,” DAA chief executive Kevin Toland told RTÉ’s News at Ones.

“The second constraint which is the 65 movements [limit] ... this summer we’ll have 99 movements between 11pm and 7am. Again, that’s a critical piece of not only enabling this business and airport to grow but in developing the economy here so they really are constraints that put a brake on ongoing long-term development of the Irish economy.”

Mr Toland added that he was “very, very confident” there was a clear-cut case for the restrictions being lifted.

Neither Mr Toland nor a spokesperson for Dublin Airport were yesterday able to confirm the project would go ahead irrespective of any potential changes to the planning conditions.

Mr Toland said he was “planning for success” in having the restrictions lifted and did not anticipate failing in that regard. A spokesperson said the DAA had been given no indication as to the likelihood of the conditions being altered in its favour.

Should the runway be shelved again, it would be a further delay of the project which was granted planning permission in 2007 before being temporarily scuppered by the economic downturn and subsequent fall in passenger numbers.

The North Runway has featured in successive Local Area and County Development Plans since the 1970s.

The country’s largest airport could hike passenger charges to pay for the €320m project with a review due to be carried out by the Commission for Aviation Regulation set to determine the specifics of any increases.

The commission previously ruled that the cost of the runway could be passed onto customer if passenger numbers exceeded 25m which they did last year.

“We’ve been given an allowance by the commission for aviation regulation that it would require a 59c increase in passenger charges,” an airport spokesperson said.

The development of a second runway, which is expected to be completed by 2020 and create 1,200 jobs during construction, would provide a significant economic boost for the country and complement Cork Airport, said a spokesperson for the country’s second largest airport.

Extra routes the runway would cater for from emerging markets such as Asia, Africa and South America would not crossover with Cork Airport’s main markets of continental Europe and possibly north America.

The news that the runway was to go ahead was broadly welcomed by groups including Chambers Ireland, Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Fáilte Ireland, and Ibec.


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