Dublin Airport has confirmed this morning that it will proceed with plans for a new parallel runway – with the project estimated to cost as much as €320m.
The DAA, which operates Dublin and Cork airports, said the 3,110-metre long runway is expected to be complete by 2020. The project will support 1,200 jobs during construction.
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The total cost will include the new runway itself as well as ancillary facilities.
The DAA will rely on existing planning permission, rather than drafting new plans. The original planning permission was received in 2007, but the project was put on hold due to the economic downturn.
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But Dublin Airport has enjoyed a resurgence in passenger numbers. Last year, it handled over 25 million passengers, a record for Dublin Airport, and 15pc more than it handled in 2014.
“Passenger numbers continue to grow strongly in 2016 with double digit growth recorded in the first two months of this year,” said DAA chief executive Kevin Toland.
“We are progressing our plans to deliver the new runway in accordance with the development and pathway for growth outlined in the Government’s National Aviation Policy (NAP). Dublin Airport’s North Runway will significantly improve Ireland’s connectivity supporting trade, foreign direct investment and tourism,” he added.
Dublin Airport’s North Runway development has the potential to open up connectivity to a range of long-haul destinations, particularly in fast growing economies in Asia, Africa and South America, according to the DAA. The delivery of a new runway could support a further 31,000 new jobs over the next two decades, contributing €2.2bn to GDP, it added.
The existing planning permission has 31 conditions attached, however. Mr Toland said two of those conditions in particular are onerous and “would severely reduce the future operational capacity of the airport at key periods”.
“This has implications on our ability to support future traffic growth at the airport and we are looking at how this can be addressed,” according to Mr Toland.
The conditions limit the number of early and nightime evening flights than can use the second parallel runway.
But applying for new planning permission would have taken time and delayed the project at a time when there is strong growth.
Almost 50 new routes and services were introduced at Dublin Airport in the past two years, as well as significant additional capacity increases on a number of existing routes. Nine additional airlines are now operating at Dublin Airport.
Total long-haul connectivity has grown by more than 65pc since T2 opened in 2010, while short-haul connectivity has increased by 16pc.
“We are very conscious of balancing the national and business needs with those of our local communities and we will continue to work closely with our neighbours in relation to this project,” Mr Toland added.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe, welcomed the news saying that the runway project was a vital piece of infrastructure that would support Ireland’s continuing economic recovery.
“This project is of major strategic importance to Ireland as an island economy, in terms of improved connectivity,” he said. “It has the potential to create thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly, over the coming years.”
Enabling works are set to begin later this year so that construction can start in 2017.
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