Irish transport minister Shane Ross launched a national consultation about Ireland’s airport capacity on Friday (26 October), officially putting a third, independently run terminal for Dublin Airport on the table.
The Dublin Airport Authority (daa) itself doesn’t want a new independent terminal, however, and will press instead for a new runway and the expansion of existing terminals 1 and 2.
The airport has seen unprecedented growth over the past seven years, with passenger numbers increasing by almost 60% between 2011 and 2017.
"I want to ensure that there is an open approach to the policy options for expansion of Dublin Airport and specifically an examination of the merit of introducing competition in the provision of terminal services," Ross said on Friday, releasing a report he had commissioned on capacity needs of the country’s state airports.
He added: "The Report confirms that this is a possible option. I will now seek to establish the views of key stakeholders before considering the matter further and deciding a way forward."
The ministry said airports were vital to Ireland, supporting the country’s trading relationships and tourism, its "largest indigenous industry".
Separately, the daa on Friday announced it had begun consultations on a €900m expansion plan to help the airport grow to 40 million passengers a year – without a third terminal.
It proposes to spend €400m between 2020 and 2024 to deliver new capacity in the northern end of the airport close to Terminal 1, and €500m on the southern apron area close to Terminal 2.
"(The) daa’s position on a potential new terminal at Dublin Airport has been consistent over the past two years," its press release said. "The airport urgently requires a new runway, new boarding gate piers, aircraft parking stands and other improvements rather than a new terminal in the medium term.
"This view is held not just by daa, but also by its main airline customers at Dublin Airport."
Image: Dublin Airport, with Terminal 2’s new pier, designed by SOM and completed in 2007, in the foreground (ColmDeSpáinn/Wikimedia Commons)