DAA chairman defends increase in passenger charges
DUBLIN Airport's €600m second terminal was officially opened yesterday with the first flight arriving just after 11am.
An Aer Lingus flight from Manchester was given a fire-brigade escort from the runway to the new terminal as Taoiseach Brian Cowen arrived for the opening ceremony.
The terminal, called T2, can cater for up to 15 million passengers a year.
At its peak, it was the largest construction project in the State, employing 2,600 construction workers on site.
More than 1,000 new jobs will be created as it begins operating -- 500 in security, cleaning, customer service and passenger processing, and the remainder in retail and catering.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen said the terminal was a key infrastructure investment.
"By investing prudently in improved facilities, we are laying the foundations for future growth and prosperity; not just for Dublin Airport, but also for the wider Irish economy."
The terminal was funded by commercial revenues, passenger charges and borrowings.
Chairman of the Dublin Airport Authority, David Dilger, rejected criticism of the hike in passenger charges to finance the project, saying the airport charged less than most of its European counterparts.
Aer Lingus, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways and US Airways will use T2. Ryanair has refused to move.
It was built by a consortium comprising Arup, Mace, Pascall+Watson and Davis Langdon PKS.
The entire T2 project cost €609m. The terminal building cost €395m, while the boarding-gates facility, a new power plant, aircraft parking stands and upgrade of the road network added €214m to the bill.
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary claims it cost twice this sum, or €1.2bn. This is the total amount spent by the Dublin Airport Authority in recent years upgrading the airport, and includes the cost of T2, investment in Pier D, taxi ways, aircraft parking stands at the old Terminal 1 and other facilities.