€1.8bn Dublin Airport investment plan ‘jeopardised’ by lower passenger charge proposal – DAA

The departure gates at Terminal 1 in Dublin Airport (Brian Lawless/PA)
The departure gates at Terminal 1 in Dublin Airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

The DAA, the semi-State company that operates Dublin Airport, has reacted angrily to proposals published today by the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) that will see passenger charges slashed at the gateway from next year.

It blasted the determination as “fundamentally flawed”, and claimed the planned lower charge “risks creating stagnation at Dublin Airport, as it will jeopardise the investments in new facilities that are required to cope with growing demand”.

CAR said today in a provisional determination that it plans to reduce the maximum charge per passenger that can be levied on passengers using the airport to €7.50 between 2020 and 2024.

It said this represented a 15pc decrease on the maximum charge of €8.81 that can currently be levied on passengers.

But the maximum charge which can actually be charged at the moment is €9.01, due to carry over permitted by CAR.

DAA had sought a maximum charge in the range of €9.05 to €9.94 per passenger for the 2020-2024 period.

The DAA said the actual decrease under the new charge proposal would be 22pc.

The charge proposed by CAR is between 17pc and 25pc lower than the DAA had sought.

The DAA, headed by chief executive Dalton Philips, wants the higher charge to help fuel a near €2bn capital programme at Dublin Airport, which includes new aircraft stands, apron works and other facilities including a services vehicle tunnel.

There are a total of more than 120 projects that are proposed for the 2020 to 2024 period.

“CAR’s flawed proposal is absolutely not in the best interests of passengers, airlines or the wider Irish economy,” said Mr Philips.


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“The most pressing issue at Dublin Airport isn’t our charges, which are already low, it’s about investing for Ireland’s long-term future and CAR’s proposal won’t allow us to do that,” he said.

The CAR pointed out that the proposed €7.50 charge could rise by 26 cent when the new runway being built at Dublin Airport becomes operational in 2022.

CAR said that the variance between its proposed charge and that sought by DAA reflects a lower cost of debt and equity for funding projects, rising passenger numbers, and increased commercial revenue, including retail revenue at Dublin Airport.

Adrian Corcoran, director of economic regulation at CAR, said that the cost of every single project proposed by DAA had been scrutinised and that in some cases it deemed that the likely costs would be lower than projected by DAA.

“Our proposed price increase allows for the efficient operation of Dublin Airport in the period 2020-2024 and will enable a high-quality service for passengers,” said CAR commissioner Cathy Mannion.

“The reduction in price will benefit passengers, through lower air fares, but also by encouraging continued growth at the airport, offering passengers increased choice and connectivity,” she added.

Dunlin Airport handled 31.5 million passengers last year, compared to just under 30 million in 2017.

CAR has predicted that the pace of passenger growth at Dublin Airport will be 3pc per annum, which will bring the figure to 37.8 million by 2024.

It added that the investment programme planned by Dublin Airport will enable it to handle 40 million passengers a year.

The draft determination published by the CAR today is open to public comments until July 8, before a final determination is later made.

Online Editors


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