Dublin Airport Terminal May Cost 100M More

The second terminal planned for Dublin airport will have to be expanded by at least 50 per cent at an additional cost of 100 million to accommodate new growth plans for the main airlines, writes Emmet Oliver

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) was informed in recent weeks that its original plan for a 50,000sq m facility was unlikely to be sufficient. Airlines have told the authority that a facility of 75,000 or 80,000sq m will be needed. Members of the authority have been warned that a larger facility will cost more, and airport charges would have to rise to pay for an expanded option. The construction of a runway might also need to be brought forward.

The situation is made more difficult by the imminent flotation of Aer Lingus on the Stock Exchange. The airline needs to know what kind of capacity will be available in future at the airport. Aer Lingus is planning a major expansion of its short- and long-haul routes.

Last July the authority, formerly known as Aer Rianta, announced plans to build a 50,000sq m passenger terminal by 2009. It said that it would cost between 170 million and ยค200 million. However, the need for a much larger facility is likely to add considerable extra cost, and possibly delay, to the project.

Based on the 200 million cost figure, a 50 per cent increase would add another 100 million to the cost.

The DAA, which is committed to delivering the facility by 2009, said last night it was involved in detailed consultations with its airline customers on the "appropriate scale" of the terminal. It said the plans of the two main airlines - Aer Lingus and Ryanair - were now radically different than those last summer. "The current business plans of the two principal airlines, Aer Lingus and Ryanair, involve significantly more aggressive passenger growth at Dublin airport than was envisaged in the summer of 2005," said a statement. The authority will now consider whether it will concede to the demands of the two airlines.

At present, Aer Lingus and Ryanair generate 66 per cent of the traffic flow at Dublin. Without the agreement of at least one of the airlines the terminal would be fatally damaged.

It is understood that to solve the problems a high-level meeting with Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary, Aer Lingus chief executive Dermot Mannion and the DAA may be set up.

The rapid growth of passenger traffic at Dublin airport has become a major problem for the authorities. In 2005 traffic at Dublin went from 17.1 million passengers to 18.4 million, a rise of 7.7 per cent. In 2004 the traffic was up by 8.1 per cent. Nationally, the traffic growth has been even stronger. In 2005 national traffic at the three main airports was up by 12.4 per cent at 24.4 million passengers.