McEvaddy warns of legal bid to break T3 impasse
ENTREPRENEUR Ulick McEvaddy plans to "consider legal options" if the Competition Authority fails to resolve the impasse over Dublin Airport's third terminal "in the coming months".
His comments came as it emerged the Competition Authority is unlikely to reach a conclusion on the long-running row "in the immediate future", even though sources previously suggested a decision was expected before Christmas.
McEvaddy and his brother Des have long harboured plans to develop a third terminal on 140 acres of land they own adjacent to Dublin Airport.
But their plans were scuppered when the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) indicated it wouldn't give the McEvaddys access to the airport's runway.
The brothers responded by asking the Competition Authority to intervene in August 2005, claiming the DAA's actions were anti-competitive.
Last summer, sources suggested a decision would come before Christmas, but sources in the watchdog recently told this newspaper the case "does not look like it will reach a conclusion in the immediate future".
Mr McEvaddy said that the last correspondence he could recall receiving from the Competition Authority came "about six months ago".
"We've asked them for a time line -- we've been told there isn't any," he added.
"I have not got indefinite patience with the Competition Authority. If this isn't resolved in the coming months, I'll be considering my legal options."
Those legal options include pursuing a High Court judicial review of the DAA's decision, a costly move which has been open to the McEvaddys from the start.
If the McEvaddys' challenge fails, their terminal plans are effectively dead in the water. If the challenge succeeds, the brothers plan to construct a terminal which could cater for 10 million passengers a year.
This third terminal would compete directly with the DAA's €395m second terminal, which is expected to be open by 2010.
Mr McEvaddy argues that spiralling passenger numbers mean there will be plenty of passengers for the existing terminal, the DAA's second terminal, and the brothers' third terminal. The DAA does not share Mr McEvaddy's passenger forecasts.
It is also understood that if the McEvaddys ever do get permission to use the runway, the DAA will push for them to pay the full economic charge to reflect the historic and ongoing investment in the runway.
Ongoing investment includes some €80m for hangar, apron and other facilities, as well as €150m for the second runway.
Even if the McEvaddys don't succeed in their bid, the Government's aviation action plan provides for a third terminal to be developed by the time Dublin's annual passenger numbers hit 30 million. Aviation sources say this could happen as early as 2015.