Not expanding Dublin airport would have ‘serious impact on economy’, Jack Chambers says

Dublin Airport Authority plans for net zero carbon by 2050

Minister of State for Transport Jack Chambers has said he does not envisage a time when another airport would be developed to ease capacity issues at Dublin Airport.

Mr Chambers said he supports the Dublin Airport Authority’s (DAA’s) plans to increase passenger numbers to 40 million. He said “if Dublin Airport wasn’t to expand it would have a serious impact on our island economy”.

Speaking at the launch of the authority’s new sustainability targets on Wednesday, Mr Chambers said the Government will continue to be “ambitious” for the development of regional airports.

Asked whether he could ever see a time when the airport would stop expanding, he said: “I don’t expect another airport to be developed”. He said the Government had received a business case for expansion of Waterford Airport and “we have other regional airports which are ambitious in terms of their wider growth, so I don’t see a new site evolving”.


Mr Chambers also defended Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, who was criticised by Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary as being “incompetent”. Mr O’Leary had particularly criticised the Green Party’s opposition to raising passenger numbers at Dublin Airport beyond the current limit of 32 million a year.

The authority, which controls Dublin and Cork Airports, announced it would develop 20 new sustainability projects to achieve a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050 and a 51 per cent reduction in energy use by 2030.

The authority said the projects are “matched by a planned investment of more than €400 million as part of the company’s recent Infrastructure Application to Fingal County Council, that will make operations at Dublin Airport among the most environmentally friendly of any peer airport in Europe”.

The new sustainability initiatives include a 90 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from airside vehicles by switching from diesel to hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO).

Among the 20 initiatives announced by the authority are:

· All DAA vehicles powered by diesel to switch to hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO).

· Light vehicle fleets at both Dublin and Cork Airports to switch to fully electric power by the end of 2024.

· A 1.8 million-kilowatt solar farm at Cork Airport.

· Improving air quality at bus stations at both Dublin and Cork Airports.

· A shared bikes project for Dublin Airport.

· The completion of work on more than 20 additional electric vehicle parking spaces at Dublin Airport.

· Cork Airport to upgrade its apron lighting to energy-efficient LED technology.

· Rainwater harvesting, water reuse and the earlier detection of water leaks.

· Improvements in lighting and Ground Support Equipment (GSE) are also on the airport operator’s roadmap.

The authority is also participating in the Government’s “Decarbonisation – Reduce Your Use” campaign, which will play a significant role in engaging all colleagues as part of initiatives being undertaken this year.

DAA chief executive Kenny Jacobs said the projects “align with our commitment to meet Ireland’s ongoing international connectivity needs while ensuring safe, efficient and sustainable growth”.

“We are an island. We’re a very open economy. If we just say we’re waiting and we’re not doing any more growth, airlines will leave, they will take capacity elsewhere, jobs will be lost, connectivity will be lost,” he said.

DAA was presented with the Smarter Travel Mark by the National Transport Authority at the event. The mark is awarded to organisations with a broad range of measures in place that support sustainable travel.

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Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist