Major review of passenger charges at Dublin Airport
A major review of the way in which passenger charges at Dublin Airport are regulated has been initiated by the Department of Transport.
It has hired consultancy firm Indecon to undertake what Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said will be a "comprehensive review" of the current system, which has been in place since 2001.
The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) determines the maximum charges per passenger that can be levied by at Dublin Airport on airlines using the facility.
The Commission sets the levels by taking into account factors such as projected traffic levels, the estimated capital expenditure planned by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) as well as input from stakeholders such as airlines.
In setting the maximum charges, the Commission also has to be mindful of ensuring that the DAA's financial position is not undermined. That has led to ministerial directions being issued in the past to the CAR, with the Department often being accused of effectively directing the CAR as to how charges should be set.
Last year, the CAR set charges for the period 2015-2019. At first, it had planned to cut the maximum charge that could be levied by the DAA by a total of 22pc, or 4.8pc a year. A Ministerial direction was issued in September, and in October the CAR said the maximum charge that could be levied would be cut by 4.2pc per year up to 2019, or a total of 19pc.
The method of setting the charges has been hugely controversial amongst airlines using the airport.
Mr Donohoe conceded that many stakeholders have frequently pointed to difficulties with the system.
Developments in the aviation business and in international regulatory models since 2001 also suggest that a review would be appropriate, according to the Minister.
The review will be completed by the end of the year, with any necessary changes to legislation being implemented by the middle of next year.