Dublin airport charges could soar

AIRPORT charges at Dublin airport will soar if the Government insists on building a second terminal, it has been claimed.

The panel appointed to review expressions of interest from private operators who want to build the terminal has concluded that many of the locations proposed would require extensive infrastructural development.

This may even mean building a new entrance onto the main Dublin-Belfast motorway, at an

already congested location. The news will be a body blow to airlines and even to the Government, which had expected a second terminal to lower rather than raise airport charges.

Although, under current proposals, the new terminal would be built and operated privately, the report goes on to suggest the infrastructure would have to be put in place by the airport authority Aer Rianta and the funds clawed back through higher airport charges. Airlines, especially low-cost carriers like Ryanair, will be furious at the report. Ryanair has been pushing for a second terminal at Dublin Airport on the basis that it would compete with Aer Rianta and thus lower charges.

Ryanair was among the companies who made a submission to the panel on building the second terminal. The company has said it guaranteed to bring 10 million passengers a year through the facility, although it would not build and operate it itself.

Aer Rianta is also likely to be unhappy with the findings since it has consistently done battle with Transport Minister Seamus Brennan over his plans to build the second terminal.

The Government panel was chaired by former civil servant Paddy Mullarkey and had representatives with aviation expertise.

They found that although charges may have to be raised in the short-term, they should fall in the medium to long-term.

The 100-page report, presented to the minister last week said half of the expressions of interest on the second terminal amounted to detailed proposals. The rest were no more than one-page letters.

Mr Mullarkey’s group does not make specific recommendations on the proposals but does suggest the operator of any new terminal should not answer to Aer Rianta, but rather to a new body set up to oversee the terminal operator and Aer Rianta itself.

It’s expected that the transport minister will bring the report before the cabinet within the next fortnight and that he will enthusiastically back plans to build a second terminal building in Dublin.

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