Only three airlines moving to new €600m terminal
Published 11/01/2010 | 05:00
ONLY three transatlantic airlines have signed up to move into Dublin Airport's new €600m terminal, just 10 months before its opening.
The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) is under intense pressure to revise its plans for the new facility, dubbed T2, following the tourism downturn.
T2 is designed specifically for transatlantic travel and will allow passengers to clear US immigration and customs before they board their flight.
The new terminal is due to open in November, but just half of the transatlantic airlines operating from Dublin Airport say they are committed to making the move.
American Airlines and Continental confirmed their intentions to take up residency in T2 and Aer Lingus said they would join them "provided that there is no differential pricing to Terminal One".
But Air Canada, US Airways and Delta revealed they were still undecided on whether they would follow suit.
The DAA has been severely criticised over the €609m cost of the T2 project. Its most vocal detractor, Ryanair, has called on the project to be scrapped with a low-cost terminal built in its place.
The Commission for Aviation Regulation has already pledged to increase passenger charges by one-third if the new terminal meets its November deadline.
Opposition politicians said they were very concerned that the DAA had not secured a commitment from all of its central targets for T2 and questioned whether the terminal should be opened on schedule.
They also urged the authority to revisit its T2 strategy and make a greater effort to lure European airlines into the new terminal.
But Ryanair, Lufthansa, Iberia, Air France, British Midland and CityJet all confirmed to the Irish Independent they would not be moving to T2.
Middle Eastern airline Air Etihad, from the oil rich United Arab Emirates, has already signed up to move to the new terminal.
The DAA defended the prospects of the terminal and said it was confident all of the US carriers would make the move.
It said that the US Customs and Border Protection facility gave Ireland the potential to become a hub for international passengers travelling to the US, similar to London Heathrow.
The spokesman added that Aer Lingus, Continental and American Airlines accounted for more than two-thirds of the existing transatlantic traffic from Dublin Airport.
But Labour transport spokesman Tommy Broughan said he was astonished that the authority had not managed to sign up all six transatlantic carriers as of yet.
He said that he would raise the matter at the next meeting of the Oireachtas transport committee.