Ryanair and Aer Lingus join challenge to Fingal County Council notice restricting night-time flights

Airlines submit they are directly affected by council’s enforcement notice to Dublin Airport operator

Ryanair and Aer Lingus will participate in a High Court challenge to a notice directing the operator of Dublin Airport to restrict night-time flights to a maximum of 65 per night.

Last August the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) secured a court order pausing the effect of Fingal County Council’s enforcement notice, which was issued on grounds that the number of flights scheduled by the airport exceeds the terms of a planning condition regarding runway operations between 11pm and 7am. In seeking the order the airport operator warned it could be forced to cancel thousands of flights.

On Monday the court heard the council stands over the validity of its enforcement notice, which was issued in August following a four-month investigation. However, it has not sought to lift the High Court’s stay on its effects. The order remains in place while the dispute over its legitimacy is ongoing.

There was no objection to Ryanair and Aer Lingus joining the case as affected notice parties. The two airlines argued their interests are directly affected by the enforcement notice. The Irish Aviation Authority, which is the body charged with co-ordinating aircraft movement slots, was previously added as a notice party, while a local resident was also joined to the case on Monday.


The DAA’s senior barrister, Fintan Valentine, said it seems both his client and Fingal County Council both want the court to determine the issues between them.

Conleth Bradley SC, for the council, said his client has filed papers opposing the case. The DAA’s judicial review was “misconceived” as it has challenged the enforcement notice but not the decision to issue it.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys gave permission for the parties to file amended legal documents in the case, which will return to court next week.

In its action against the council the DAA claims the enforcement notice is unreasoned, vague and has no legal effect. The authority says it does not know what steps it must take to comply with the notice and thousands of passengers could be affected.

The DAA says the notice fails to consider the role of the Irish Aviation Authority. It also restricts the operation of an airport in the European Union which is contrary to EU regulations and disregards obligations under the 2007 Air Traffic Agreement between the EU and the United States.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter