Monday 19 March 2018

Transport Minister no longer able to interfere in setting of passenger charges at Dublin Airport

Minister Shane Ross
Minister Shane Ross
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The Minister for Transport will no longer be able to interfere in the setting of passenger charges at Dublin Airport by the Commission for Aviation Regulation following the introduction of new legislation that will determine how charges are implemented at the gateway.

The Department for Transport said the change is just one of a number of changes that “strengthens the hand of the Commission for Aviation Regulation in pursuing its goal to protect the interests of the airport’s customers”.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) determines the maximum charges per passenger that can be levied by at Dublin Airport on airlines using the facility. The current maximum charge per passenger the DAA can levy is €9.86.

The Commission sets the levels by taking into account factors such as projected traffic levels, the estimated capital expenditure planned by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) as well as input from stakeholders such as airlines.

In setting the maximum charges, the Commission also has to be mindful of ensuring that the DAA's financial position is not undermined. That has led to ministerial directions being issued in the past to the CAR, with the Department often being accused of effectively directing the CAR as to how charges should be set.

The current system of assessing passenger charges at Dublin Airport has been in place since 2001. In early 2015, the Department of Transport – then headed by Paschal Donohoe – initiated a review of that system.

Current Transport Minister Shane Ross, said that the government has now agreed to reform how prices are set at Dublin Airport.

“Under the regulatory oversight of the Commission for Aviation Regulation, and with the support of Ryanair and Aer Lingus in particular, Dublin Airport is now a highly connected modern international airport,” he said. “The new price regime will build on that progress but, importantly, it will place the consumers’ interests firmly ahead of the ambitions of a state utility.”

A DAA spokesman said: “DAA manages Dublin Airport in the best interests of the State and the wider Irish economy by growing connectivity and offering a world-class product at a competitive price.”

He added: “Airport charges at Dublin continue to be amongst the lowest in Europe. The most recent independent benchmarking study from Airports Council International (ACI) Europe found that Dublin Airport had the fourth lowest charges in its peer group of 23 comparable European airports."

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