Airport is in the middle of a hiring blitz for expected surge in passengers and new flights
Millions more seats could be made available for travel out of Dublin Airport next summer as airlines gear up for a return to near normality following the pandemic.
The airport initially struggled to cope with a surge in passenger numbers, resulting in chaotic scenes in late May. A shortage of workers posed a significant problem for the airport.
The airport’s operators, DAA, formerly the Dublin Airport Authority, embarked on a hiring blitz last week, offering up to 500 jobs.
Now a report from Airport Coordination Limited (ACL), which coordinates take-off and landing slots for 72 airports around the world, shows that as many as 30.1 million seats could be available out of Dublin next summer. This represents an increase of 4.4 million on the previous year.
Aer Lingus could have as many as 788,000 more seats available, bringing its total to almost 8.8 million.
Ryanair could have an additional 1.68 million, for a total of almost 12.9 million.
Ryanair and Aer Lingus are the two biggest airlines operating out of Dublin.
Conor McCarthy’s Emerald Airlines, which operates the Aer Lingus regional service on a franchise basis, also looks set to considerably boost its operations out of Dublin next summer.
However, industry sources said that the number of take-off and landing slots allocated, and the potential number of seats, might not materialise as airlines hedge their bets and make final decisions in the coming weeks.
The summer season effectively runs from spring until early autumn.
Dublin Airport could also re-establish a direct link with Asia next summer, with China’s Hainan Airlines sizing up a restart of its service to Beijing.
DAA, the semi-state company that also operates Cork Airport, spent years trying to secure a direct link from the capital to China.
In 2019, Hainan was operating two services to China from Dublin – to Beijing and Shenzhen. However, it axed the Shenzhen service in August that year and suspended the Beijing route until 2020.
However, with China still doing rolling lockdowns due to continuing Covid outbreaks, Hainan is unlikely to make a final decision on its Dublin service until the last minute.
And in a significant move for US airline Delta, the
ACL report notes that the airline has indicated it could operate a service from Dublin to Minneapolis-St Paul next summer.
Delta operated from Dublin Airport for more than 30 years, flying to its hub in Atlanta, Georgia, and having also operated services to New York JFK and Boston from the Irish capital.
Aer Lingus started a service to Minneapolis-St Paul from Dublin in 2019, just months before the pandemic hit.
The airline hasn’t reinstated that route, but is set to launch a new route between Dublin and Cleveland, Ohio, next summer.
It has also reinstated a number of other services to the US that had been put on hold during the pandemic,
such as a route to Seattle, Hartford in Connecticut, and Miami.
DAA announced last week that former Ryanair senior executive Kenny Jacobs would join the group as chief executive.
Mr Jacobs said he would focus on delivering an “efficient travel experience” for consumers using DAA airports and would boost traffic growth.
He succeeds Dalton Philips, who left the role recently to become chief executive of food group Greencore.