Friday 15 December 2017

DAA seek more time for new €320m runway project at Dublin Airport

Passengers arriving at Dublin airport
Passengers arriving at Dublin airport
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The DAA has sought a time extension to its planning permission for a new €320m runway project at Dublin Airport, but said the planned development timetable for the infrastructure upgrade hasn't changed.

Enabling work on the project - which includes a range of ancillary infrastructure such as new taxiways - began in December. Full construction is set to begin this year and it's due to be completed by 2020. Dublin Airport handled 27.9 million passengers last year, an 11pc increase on 2015.

The DAA said it had sought the five-year extension because it needed sufficient time to complete the runway before the planning deadline expires later this year. Developments that secure planning permission typically have to complete works before permission expires.

However, extensions can be secured from local councils on limited grounds - often where an applicant can show that commencement of a development was not feasible due to external economic factors. The runway permission expires next November.

"It was not possible to implement the permission due to the severe economic, commercial and financial recession which hit the global economy and Ireland in 2008," the DAA has told Fingal County Council in its application for an extension.

"It was not prudent to proceed with the North Runway project."

It added that if the extension was granted, it would "enable the development to be constructed within the extended period of time as economic circumstances continue to improve and the commercial viability of the North Runway becomes more certain".

A DAA spokesman said the project remained on track to be delivered in 2020, however. The DAA also needs to secure changes to two key conditions of the existing permission that would limit the number of night-time flights at the airport to 65 - fewer than it handles at the moment in that time period.

The conditions define night as between 11pm and 7am. Dublin Airport sees a surge in traffic from about 5am to 8am as transatlantic flights arrive and flights to destinations such as London begin. A separate process must be initiated by the DAA to have the two conditions altered. Local groups are opposed to any increase in the number of night flights.

The DAA spokesman confirmed the application had been made to Fingal County Council to extend the duration of the existing planning permission for the runway project. The runway itself will be 3.1km long.

"A five-year extension to the existing planning permission is being sought to allow DAA to complete the project," he said.

In its submission to the council, the DAA said that it has already started phase one of the scheme. Works already started include felling trees and hedges, erecting security fencing and demolition of some buildings.

The DAA has embarked on a swathe of infrastructure works at Dublin Airport. It's building a number of Grade A office buildings, having lured tenants such as ESB International.

It is also seeking a developer and operator for a new 11-storey, 402-bedroom hotel that will be connected to Terminal 2. The property is expected to open in 2019. Other infrastructure developments include the construction of a new bussing facility that will be used to transfer passengers to and from aircraft using remote parking.

Irish Independent

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