Dublin Airport on course to handle 730 flights a day
Dublin Airport will handle as many as 730 flights a day next summer as it sees new services come on-stream to destinations such as Hong Kong and Canada.
At its busiest times, the gateway could see as many as 47 flights an hour taking off and landing, according to forecasts prepared for the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) by consultancy group Helios, as part of the slot coordination plan for Dublin Airport.
The airport - the fifteenth-busiest in Europe - is already poised to breach the 30 million passenger mark this year, after handling just under 28 million in 2016.
With new services such as a route between Dublin and Hong Kong by Cathay Pacific already announced for next year, and Norwegian increasing its services to the United States, it already appears that Dublin Airport could be well above the 30 million passenger mark in 2018.
Seven new take-off and landing movements will be added next summer, as the airport continues the explosive growth seen since the country emerged from the downturn.
But the increased traffic could also see passengers spending more time on aircraft before they even get airborne, especially at peak morning and early evening times.
Helios has projected that the average taxi-out time to a runway for an aircraft at Dublin Airport could increase during peak times to as long as almost 26 minutes.
At off-peak times, the average delays would be considerably less, however.
The CAR said: "It is clear that there is a trade-off between ground delay and runway capacity, particularly in the peak periods, where the marginal delay caused by the addition of movements is higher."
It added: "However, where there is demand for additional movements, and these can be delivered without a substantial increase in delay, it is in the interests of users for us to declare increased capacity accordingly."
It conceded that a busier summer in 2018 at the airport will also result in some marginal increases in terminal queueing time - at security for departing passengers in busy mornings, for instance.
The so-called Co-ordination Committee at the CAR, which includes Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Stobart Air, British Airways, Norwegian, and CityJet, voted on a number of proposals for airport usage next summer.
The group has also agreed to a proposal by Dublin Airport to see the maximum hourly terminal passenger departure capacity increased at both Terminal 1 and 2.
That will see the maximum raised to 3,700 per hour at both locations, from 3,375 in Terminal 1, and 3,450 in Terminal 2.
Ryanair voted against the Dublin Airport proposal for departure number increases because it believes that the infrastructure at Terminal 1 could actually handle an even higher number of passengers than that proposed by the DAA, the semi-State body which controls both Dublin and Cork Airports.
The maximum hourly terminal arrival capacity at Terminal 2 will remain unchanged at 3,050, and increased at from 3,390 at Terminal 1 to 3,550.
The CAR has noted that following a deterioration in on-time performance across the airport in summer 2016, the trend did not continue into summer 2017.
It said this was achieved "despite significant traffic growth and no major changes in airport infrastructure or operating procedures".