DAA says noise bill will be law 'within weeks'
DAA chief executive Dalton Philips expects legislation to formally appoint Fingal County Council as the noise regulator for Dublin Airport to be signed into law within a matter of weeks.
The move will kick-start a process whereby the DAA will eventually be able to seek the removal of two planning conditions that would reduce the number of flights that can be operated at Dublin Airport during key hours once its new runway opens in 2021.
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One of the conditions would limit the total number of flights at Dublin Airport between 11pm and 7am to 65. It currently handles 115 flights between those hours, many of them between 5am and 7am.
Fingal County Council is being appointed under EU legislation that requires such a regulator to be in place.
But the council has previously voiced concerns to the Department of Transport that it did not have the necessary expertise to perform the function, and said that given its extensive involvement with the DAA in relation to planning matters for Dublin Airport, it may not be the most appropriate body to act as noise regulator.
Mr Philips insisted that Fingal County Council is "well up for the challenge", and added that the DAA will "make its case" for the removal of the conditions.
"We're going to have to make a very solid submission, which we will," he said. "We're not trying to put more flights into Dublin in the middle of the night. People don't want to travel in the middle of the night."
Mr Philips was speaking as the DAA reported a strong financial performance for 2018, when it handled 33.5 million passengers.
Its turnover rose 5pc to €897m, while profit after tax was 6pc higher, at €133m.
The DAA also controls Cork Airport.
DAA's chief financial officer Ray Gray said that the group is currently in talks with the European Investment Bank regarding a possible €200m loan to help bankroll elements of a €1bn capital expenditure programme at Dublin Airport.