Airport’s role as transatlantic hub ‘can be enhanced’

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Airport’s role as transatlantic hub ‘can be enhanced’


Potential: IAG chief executive Willie Walsh says there is scope to improve
Potential: IAG chief executive Willie Walsh says there is scope to improve

There remains “significant scope” to enhance Dublin Airport’s position as a transatlantic hub, according to IAG CEO Willie Walsh.

IAG, which owns Aer Lingus, has been using the Irish carrier to capture more traffic across the Atlantic, adding a number of routes and aircraft at the airline since it acquired it in 2015.

Semi-State DAA has been working to build out Dublin Airport’s position as a hub, with 2.1 million of its 31.5 million passengers last year using it as a transit node, without actually beginning or ending their journeys there.

“The point we’ve been making is that there’s a lot of scope to improve, and significantly enhance the position of Dublin as a transatlantic hub,” Mr Walsh told the Irish Independent.

“We want to do it and to his credit, Dalton Philips [the CEO of the DAA] wants to do it as well,” he said. “I’ve seen a very constructive relationship between Dalton and his team and the Aer Lingus team.”

He said that in terms of broader infrastructure development at Dublin Airport, including the possibility of a third terminal that’s been raised by Transport Minister Shane Ross, the issue is “fairly straightforward”.



DAA CEO, Dalton PhilipsDAA CEO, Dalton Philips

DAA CEO, Dalton Philips

“You’ve got to bring the infrastructure online at the right time and that requires a bit of forward planning,” said Mr Walsh.

“But when you look at what infrastructure is required at Dublin today, there is still a lot of scope within the existing terminal buildings that would need to be exploited before you need to look for additional capacity in a third terminal,” he added.

“We’ve been very clear that the focus should be on improving the infrastructure around the existing terminals – taxiways and stands – before you look at what would be a very high-profile and visible programme like a terminal,” Mr Walsh said.

“Building a taxiway doesn’t have the same profile or visibility as a terminal, but I can assure you, it’s absolutely critical to the continued success of today,” he said.

A report prepared last year for the Government claimed Dublin Airport could need a new passenger terminal as early as 2030.

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The DAA is also opposed to the construction of a third terminal any time soon at Dublin Airport. Mr Philips has previously said that such a facility probably wouldn’t be needed until passenger numbers at the gateway hit about 55 million. That figure, he said, probably wouldn’t be reached until about 2038.

The DAA is deploying significant amounts of capital on infrastructure projects. It’s spending about €320m on a runway project that recently started construction.

It will have spent an extra €900m by 2023 – not including the runway cost – on additional infrastructure.

That will include work inside terminals, as well as new aircraft stands and other projects.

Irish Independent

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