Boosting Ireland’s economy and jobs with an expanded trans-Atlantic gateway
Dublin Airport is an attractive gateway to the US for passengers originating in the UK and Europe. Flight times are shorter than UK and European airports and it’s the only European airport to ‘pre-clear’ passengers so they don’t need immigration checks on arrival in the US. By 2017, it was handling 30 million passengers a year – up 60 per cent on 2011.
Aer Lingus had benefited from the location of Dublin Airport, boosting trans-Atlantic traffic by 56 per cent from 2015 to 2017. But the airport was increasingly reaching full capacity at the peak. Our forecasts for Aer Lingus showed they could only keep growing if the airport infrastructure also expanded. We had helped the airline become more efficient over the past three years by increasing automation and improving processes, significantly increasing on-time flights to 95 per cent. But this was not enough – to maintain their growing value model, they urgently need extra capacity.
Together with Dublin Airport (DAA) and Aer Lingus, we collaboratively developed a new design to facilitate hub operations at the airport. It aimed to relieve bottlenecks at the aircraft piers where passengers board and disembark, to increase the number of stands available, and shorten transfer times for UK and European trans-Atlantic passengers.
We are also supporting DAA as it takes a ‘total airport’ view of its expansion portfolio. We’re integrating a set of individual programmes across the airport campus following an international best practice model. By including airlines in the airport portfolio governance and decision-making process, we’ve enabled even more collaboration to the benefit of all parties.
Subject to approval in the regulatory determination process currently underway, work is set to start on a €500 million scheme to increase aircraft stands and passenger throughput by 2022. This project is part of a total €1.3 billion capital expansion (including the new North Runway) across the airport over the next five years. That will help boost passenger numbers to in excess of 40 million a year and provide the platform for Aer Lingus and other airlines to continue to grow. An Aer Lingus commissioned report, shows the new hub will strengthen Ireland’s economy significantly, creating thousands of jobs and adding €18.6 billion to GDP by 2033.
We are proud to be involved in this exciting and new chapter for Ireland.