Dublin Airport may get third terminal as new runway planned
The possibility of a third terminal at Dublin Airport is to be examined as part of a review of air traffic at the transport hub.
The Cabinet has approved plans to employ independent consultants to review air traffic congestion at Dublin Airport amid plans for a long-delayed new runway.
It comes as it emerged that repairs to the main runway due to start in November will take 18 months.
The review of operations at the airport is related to new EU rules on aircraft noise and will include consideration of the need for a third terminal building.
"We are facing an extremely delicate situation at Dublin Airport," Transport Minister Shane Ross said.
"There is an overwhelming case to build a new runway and it needs to be built quickly. If we are to avoid lengthy delays for passengers, construction of the new runway will need to start within a few months if it is to be commissioned, as planned, by 2020," he said.
He said that a public consultation process would take in the "very legitimate concerns" of nearby residents.
Dublin Fingal Labour TD Brendan Ryan said he was glad that the residents' concerns regarding noise pollution will be given consideration.
"The growth of Dublin Airport is vital both for our country and for the local region. However, any new runway proposal needs to be balanced with the quality-of-life concerns for residents," he said.
Fianna Fail transport spokesman Robert Troy said he'd like to see a resolution brought to the issue of the new runway.
He pointed out that planning permission was granted in 2007 and that: "We're nine years down the road and a sod hasn't been turned."
The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has said that the main runway is an "asset urgently in need of repair".
It has facilitated some four million take-offs and landings at the airport - 95pc of the take-offs and landings in that period.
Due to planes flying in and out of Dublin during the day time, the rehabilitation work can only take place overnight. Some 150 workers will come on to the site each night and work on 100m strips between 11am and 5am.
This means that the secondary runway, which is only used 5pc of the time, will have to be used for overnight flights at the airport. The secondary runway is diagonal to the main flight path and is usually only used during high winds.
The repair works mean that more than 45 overnight flights in summer and 25 in winter will be re-directed to this flight path.
DAA spokeswoman Siobhan O'Donnell said that had the new north runway construction not been delayed due to the economic downturn, there would have been no need to use the secondary path overnight.
She also said that of the 25 flights expected overnight during the winter, 20 of those will be between 11pm and 1am.