Plan to build tunnel under Dublin Airport runway criticised on cost

Residents group tells tells Fingal County Council scheme costing €200m would waste money and serve just four vehicles per hour

A north Dublin-based residents group has branded the Dublin Airport operator’s plans to construct a €200 million tunnel under runway 16/34 a total waste of money.

In a new objection against the DAA runway tunnel scheme, the St Margarets, The Ward residents group has told Fingal County Council that it is difficult to comprehend how the operator could be planning to spend €200 million on its planned underpass to cater for an average of less than four vehicle movements per hour.

In the 47-page submission, the group that the four vehicle movements per hour estimate through the 700m-long tunnel is based on the operator’s own figures provided in planning documentation which estimate 2,500 vehicle movements per month through the underpass.

In their new submission, the group said that “spending €200 million on a project for just four vehicles per hour is illogical” and a total waste of money.


Ryanair lodged an initial objection against the proposal last October and, in response to new information provided by the airport operator on the planned underpass, BMA Planning, consultants acting for Ryanair, said in a new submission that “since the application was submitted, Ryanair believes that there is further support for the submission that the project is unnecessary and detrimental to the operational efficiency of the airport and a loss of aircraft stands”.

Ray Ryan of BMA Planning said that the operator was targeting 40 million passengers annually but by their own admission, the proposed development would not deliver any increase in passenger numbers or operational capacity at Dublin “which poses questions around its justification from a cost/benefit perspective”.

BMA Planning encloses a report from experts in the area, York Aviation, in support of the Ryanair contention that the underpass was not required. York Aviation has advised that the existing operational road crossing of the crosswind runway 16/34 is viable as an alternative to the underpass.

A DAA spokesman said on Monday: “The tunnel is required to improve access and safety on the airfield, allowing for the segregation of aircraft and vehicles, and the movement of vehicles to the West Apron, which is now restricted following the opening of the new North Runway on August 24th, 2022.

“Access to the West Apron is critically important to cargo operations, transit operations, General Aviation (GA), standby parking and contingency stands,” the spokesman said.

The tunnel is to be used by cargo operators, fuel bowsers, tugs, loaders, steps and catering trucks, the spokesman said and “the underpass will be critical to ensure Dublin Airport maintains safety standards and meets future operational requirements”.