DAA boss hits out at 'flawed' plan to cut charges
THE DAA, the semi-State company that operates Dublin Airport, has reacted angrily to proposals from the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) that would see passenger charges slashed at the gateway from next year.
It attacked the draft determination by CAR as "fundamentally flawed", and claimed the planned lower charge "risks creating stagnation at Dublin Airport, as it will jeopardise the investments in new facilities that are required to cope with growing demand".
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The DAA is planning a €1.8bn capital programme of works at the airport.
CAR said in a provisional determination that it plans to reduce the maximum charge per passenger that can be levied on passengers using the airport to €7.50 between 2020 and 2024. It said this represented a 15pc decrease on the current maximum charge of €8.81. But the maximum charge which can actually be charged at the moment is €9.01, due to carry-over permitted by CAR.
The CAR takes into account views from airlines and other stakeholders when assessing the permissible passenger charges at Dublin Airport. In its submission, IAG-owned Aer Lingus claimed that the DAA had "profited too much" from beating traffic forecasts used in the previous determination, which covers the period from 2015 to the end of 2019. It also claimed that the DAA "has not always provided Aer Lingus and other airlines with an appropriate quality of service".
DAA had sought a maximum charge in the range of €9.05 to €9.94 per passenger for the 2020-2024 period. The DAA said the actual decrease under the new charge proposal would be 22pc.
"CAR's flawed proposal is absolutely not in the best interests of passengers, airlines or the wider Irish economy," said DAA CEO Dalton Philips.
But CAR commissioner Cathy Mannion has insisted its proposed charge is sufficient for the DAA to deliver a high-quality service.
"The reduction in price will benefit passengers, through lower air fares, but also by encouraging continued growth at the airport, offering passengers increased choice and connectivity," she said.