Dublin Airport is dealing with a “grossly unsustainable position” as a result of passenger charges that are based on 2019 traffic levels, the chairman designate of the DAA, Basil Geoghegan, will tell an Oireachtas Committee today.
Passenger charges at Dublin Airport, which is operated by the semi-state DAA, are regulated by the Commission for Aviation Regulation (Car).
“Given the scale and severity of the crisis, it was clear from the earliest stages that the Commission for Aviation Regulation’s 2019 Price Determination for Dublin Airport – which set the airport’s pricing out to 2024 based on record levels of traffic and had stipulated a significant 18.5pc reduction in airport charges for 2020 – had effectively been rendered void,” Mr Geoghegan will tell the committee.
He has been nominated for a second term as DAA chairman.
Car’s economic and consumer protection roles are being merged with the aviation safety and security regulation functions of the Irish Aviation Authority to form a new entity.
The Commission has been headed by Cathy Mannion for the past number of years. She is leaving at the end of this month to take up a new role as a member of the performance review body that helps the European Commission and national supervisory authorities implement the performance scheme for air navigation services.
“As a result, Dublin Airport found itself facing into the crisis with a fundamentally flawed pricing structure, resulting in airport charges that were disproportionally low when compared with its European peers,” Mr Geoghegan will insist.
The chairman will point out the DAA, which also controls Cork Airport, returned €125m in dividends to the Exchequer between 2016 and 2019.
“We are keen to ensure that we can continue to pay our own way,” he will say.
“To achieve this, Dublin Airport, as the group’s largest revenue engine, urgently requires a regulatory decision that properly reflects the reality of our present circumstances.
“What started pre-Covid as an unfortunate mis-pricing, transferring value from the Irish taxpayer to airlines, has, in light of the devastation caused by the pandemic, become a fundamental issue for the future provision of critical airport infrastructure.”