Watchdog won't force DAA to charge different passenger fee for T2
The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) has ruled out forcing Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) to introduce different charges for passengers using the existing terminal and the new T2 facility after airlines, including Ryanair and Cityjet, demanded the move.
CAR had been mulling over whether to force DAA to implement the change after an aviation appeals panel told the commission in June that it should consider the strategy. That followed submissions which were made to the appeals panel by airlines, including Ryanair and Cityjet.
The appeals were made to the panel after CAR announced just before Christmas that it would raise the maximum fee per passenger that DAA can levy between 2010 and 2014 to as much as €10.44 provided the new T2 terminal becomes operational on time this November.
Aer Lingus was opposed to the introduction of so-called differential pricing. When the airline confirmed last month that it would transfer its operations to the new T2 beginning later this year, it was doing so provided no differential pricing was implemented.
Transport Minister Noel Dempsey had effectively instructed CAR late last year to significantly raise the maximum charge per passenger so that DAA would not be squeezed financially after spending as much as €1.2bn on constructing T2 and a number of other extensions and upgrades to the existing terminal.
CAR said yesterday that it does not believe there is anything to be gained by mandating DAA to introduce differential pricing, "given it already does price differentially on occasion".
"The evidence shows that DAA does engage in some differential pricing, such as differentiating between users using contact and non-contact [aircraft] stands," CAR noted. It also said some airlines using Dublin airport already paid 1.5 times as much per passenger for facilities as other airline users.
It added: "This decision not to mandate differential pricing between the terminals should not be interpreted as evidence that the commission opposes differential pricing between the two terminals. If users have differing needs, then the commission expects DAA to tailor its services accordingly."
Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary claimed yesterday that the decision not to mandate differential pricing at Dublin Airport would "do further damage to tourism and jobs and proves yet again that regulation is no substitution for competition".
DAA welcomed CAR's decision, maintaining it complied with the "majority of airlines that use the airport".