Aer Lingus commits to using new €600m terminal
Aer Lingus has finally committed to using the new €600m passenger terminal at Dublin Airport when it opens in November in a move that will make it the biggest user of the facility.
The airline signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) two years ago, but had continually maintained it was still weighing its options before deciding to shift operations.
Transatlantic Aer Lingus services will move to T2 in November, and short-haul operations will be subsequently transferred, probably within a few months of that date. About 600 Aer Lingus staff will be involved in the move.
The airline also confirmed yesterday that it's to shift its head office operations from its existing base in Dublin Airport to the controversial Hangar 6 facility by 2012.
The DAA will pay Aer Lingus a total of €22m to regain control of the lease on the existing HQ. That includes over €10.5m in cash paid over 10 years, and a further €11.6m to be paid to Aer Lingus in services and facilities fees. Aer Lingus is thought to be paying about €2m a year for the use of Hangar 6 on a 20-year lease.
The Aer Lingus move to T2 will also spell the end of in-flight duty-free sales on its flights from Dublin to the US. US-bound passengers using the T2 facility will be considered domestic travellers under American law as they will have been processed at Dublin by US customs and border patrol personnel.
A spokesman for Aer Lingus said that the loss of in-flight duty-free sales had been factored into the decision to move, and added that the overall cost of using T2 will not be significantly higher than that of using the existing terminal.
He said that Aer Lingus will have "significant" branding at T2 that will effectively present it as the airline's terminal, particularly around its own operational area. The airline is expected to use 28 of the 56 check-in desks at the facility and have a major new lounge.