Relations between Aer Lingus and DAA have 'soured immensely' over differences about airport infrastructure development
Relations between Aer Lingus and airport operator DAA have “soured immensely” as a result of differences over infrastructure development at Dublin Airport, according to the airline’s chief operating officer, Mike Rutter.
“It would be fair to say that relationships with Dublin Airport have soured immensely in the last 12 months, when it became apparent that the ambition that we have, and that its major shareholder has, to prosecute an agenda of growth at Dublin has not yet been matched,” said Mr Rutter.
He also refused to rule out the possibility that Aer Lingus would be interested in buying T2 at Dublin Airport if the terminal was ever put up for sale by the DAA, the semi-State body which controls Dublin and Cork airports.
Realistically, the DAA is unlikely to do so, however.
Aer Lingus is owned by IAG, which also owns British Airways, as well as Spanish airlines Iberia and Vueling.
Mr Rutter said that Aer Lingus chief executive Stephen Kavanagh has already met the new DAA chief executive, Dalton Philips, and is meeting him again very soon.
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh has also previously criticised the DAA for the pace of its infrastructure development at Dublin Airport, but the DAA has countered that it is spending significant amounts of money deploying new infrastructure such as aircraft stands. It has also embarked on the construction of a new runway.
Aer Lingus announced today that it will launch a new service between Dublin and Philadelphia next March. The airline will operate record capacity across the Atlantic next year, and expects to carry 2.75 million passengers between Ireland and North America in 2018, compared to 2.5 million this year.
The airline is also planning to launch direct routes between the United States and mainland Europe, according to Mr Rutter.
He also confirmed that Aer Lingus will take delivery of eight A321LR aircraft between 2019 and 2020 that will be used to further bolster its transatlantic network.
Mr Rutter said what while a transatlantic service between Cork and the United States would be looked at, it would be unlikely to feature on the airline’s agenda for at least three or four years.
A Dublin Airport spokesperson said:
"Dublin Airport is managed in the best interests of the Irish economy to grow connectivity and to meet the needs of all of its airline customers rather than just one.
"Dublin Airport is currently investing about €100 million per year to upgrade its facilities and we will shortly present proposals for an enhanced an investment programme to our airline customers for consultation. As part of our investment in new capacity a new boarding gate area will open later this year, which will be used by Aer Lingus flights among others.
"We welcome Aer Lingus’ decision to launch a new Dublin-Philadelphia service next year and to continue to expand its overall transatlantic business at Dublin Airport.”