Ross won’t rule out pri­vate third ter­mi­nal at Dublin Air­port

Irish Independent - - Front Page - John Mulligan

A THIRD ter­mi­nal at Dublin Air­port should not nec­es­sar­ily be State-owed, ac­cord­ing to Trans­port Min­is­ter Shane Ross.

The state­ment un­der­scores his con­tin­ued in­cli­na­tion to­wards the pos­si­bil­ity of the first pri­vately-owned ma­jor piece of in­fra­struc­ture at the coun­try’s big­gest gate­way.

Mr Ross was ad­dress­ing the CAPA avi­a­tion con­fer­ence at Pow­er­scourt in Co Wick­low yes­ter­day, which was at­tended by se­nior ex­ec­u­tives from around the world.

Among those at the event was IAG chief ex­ec­u­tive Wil­lie Walsh, Cathay Pa­cific chief ex­ec­u­tive Ru­pert Hogg, and DAA chief ex­ec­u­tive Dal­ton Philips.

Mr Ross said that air­ports must con­tinue to in­no­vate to pro­vide ser­vices suit­able for 21st cen­tury air­lines.

“In Ire­land, an am­bi­tious air­ports in­vest­ment pro­gramme has been in­cluded in our na­tional de­vel­op­ment plan launched last month,” he told the au­di­ence, “and will en­sure we can main­tain and grow our avi­a­tion links into the fu­ture.”

He added: “The in­vest­ment en­vis­aged in the na­tional de­vel­op­ment plan in trans­port gen­er­ally, and in the area of in­ter­na­tional con­nec­tiv­ity, is rooted in sus­tain­abil­ity, bal­ance and seiz­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties for our econ­omy to ex­pand to bet­ter sup­port our so­ci­ety.”

Mr Ross said “the na­tional de­vel­op­ment plan in Ire­land will pri­ori­tise in­fras­truc­tural im­prove­ments at our air­ports. “The pos­si­bil­ity of a third ter­mi­nal in Dublin, not nec­es­sar­ily State-owned, should not be ruled out.”

Last month, Dal­ton Philips in­sisted that a third ter­mi­nal would not be re­quired at Dublin Air­port until pas­sen­ger num­bers hit 55 mil­lion a year. Last year, the air­port han­dled

29.6 mil­lion.

The air­port is highly un­likely to con­tinue record­ing the blis­ter­ing pace of pas­sen­ger growth it has notched up in re­cent years, mak­ing it as many as 20 years be­fore a third ter­mi­nal is re­quired, Mr Philips said last month. On a rolling

12-month ba­sis, the num­ber of pas­sen­gers us­ing the air­port topped

30 mil­lion a year last month, Dublin Air­port man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Vin­cent Har­ri­son told the con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

The Gov­ern­ment is cur­rently un­der­tak­ing an air­port ca­pac­ity review – the re­sults of which are due out later this year – that will de­ter­mine air­port in­fra­struc­ture re­quire­ments to 2050.

Trade union Siptu has con­tin­u­ally op­posed any pri­vately-owned ter­mi­nal at Dublin.

The air­port is in the throes of ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects, in­clud­ing the con­struc­tion of a new run­way which is due to open in 2021. That €320m project also in­cludes a new run­way and other in­fra­struc­ture. The Ir­ish Avi­a­tion Author­ity is also con­struct­ing a €50m con­trol tower at the air­port.

The min­is­ter also said that min­imis­ing dis­rup­tion of air­line op­er­a­tions in Ire­land fol­low­ing Brexit next year is a pri­or­ity for the Gov­ern­ment.

“The EU now has a role in ev­ery as­pect of avi­a­tion, and Brexit im­pinges on ev­ery as­pect,” he told the con­fer­ence.

“My depart­ment and the Gov­ern­ment is ready for ev­ery even­tu­al­ity,” he in­sisted, adding that the chal­lenges for the avi­a­tion sec­tor are “unique”.

“For Ire­land, main­tain­ing top con­nec­tiv­ity, min­imis­ing dis­rup­tion of air­line op­er­a­tions, seek­ing reg­u­la­tory align­ment and en­sur­ing the con­tin­ued safe, ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive avi­a­tion op­er­a­tions are key ob­jec­tives in the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions,” said Mr Ross.

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