Thursday 27 July 2017

Ryanair to back Dublin Airport Authority in €320m battle against locals over runway

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary. Photo: PA
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary. Photo: PA
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair will join the DAA in fighting High Court battles against locals and environmentalists opposed to a €320m third runway at Dublin Airport, according to Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary.

The airline boss said he believes that it is "imperative" that Dublin Airport has another runway.

"We will be enjoining that process with the DAA," he said, adding that the new runway would give Dublin "enormous advantages" over airports in the UK and Europe.

Aer Lingus has not yet decided whether to row in behind the airport operator.

"We are evaluating our position on the matter," said a spokesman for the airline.

The runway - work on which has already commenced - is due to be completed and operational by 2021.

Kevin Toland, DAA
Kevin Toland, DAA

But the DAA, whose head is Kevin Toland, inset, needs to have two conditions attached to the current planning permission reversed in order to make the new runway viable.

One planning condition prohibits the new runway's use between 11pm and 7am - a period that includes the airport's extremely busy morning operations. Many flights from North America arrive at Dublin Airport before 7am, for instance.

The second condition caps the number of total flights at the airport between 11pm and 7am to 65.

The airport currently handles about 100 flights during that time. Last year, Dublin Airport handled almost 28 million passengers - a figure set to hit almost 30 million this year.

Local residents have taken an action against Fingal County Council and the State challenging the decision by the council earlier this year to extend planning permission for the runway.

The DAA is a notice party in that action.

A second action by residents against the DAA is seeking an injunction against the project, related to concerns about waste management procedures connected to the runway's construction. The Commercial Court will hear the cases in October.

It's understood that Ryanair will have to apply to the High Court to be enjoined in the cases.

Recently, the Friends of the Irish Environment also sought a judicial review of the council's decision to extend planning permission for the runway. It claims that the runway will result in additional emissions that contrive a climate action act. That case is against the council and the State and the DAA is a notice party.

While Ryanair and Mr O'Leary have been generally supportive of the new runway plans, they have raised concerns regarding the cost of the project.

The various legal actions arise from Fingal County Council's decision of March 7 last to extend a planning permission for development of the new 3,110 metre runway, a €320m infrastructural development of national importance.

Irish Independent

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