Holidaymakers face another summer of car parking shortages as regulators block Dublin Airport bid

Car park with 6,200 spaces idle since pandemic but competition commission fears deal would lead to higher prices

Holidaymakers face a squeeze on car parking at Dublin Airport this summer after regulators blocked a deal that could have reopened 6,200 spaces left idle since the pandemic.

State company DAA, which manages the airport, had been bidding to buy a now closed car park, once run by Quick Park, on Swords Road close to the Airport, from builder Gerry Gannon.

However, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) blocked a sale to the firm on Thursday, saying it feared the deal could lead to higher prices and poorer service.

Commission chairman Brian McHugh said an investigation of the bid found it would eliminate DAA’s only potential rival for public car parking at Dublin Airport, giving the company a near monopoly.


“This would be likely to lead to higher prices for consumers because DAA would not have to compete to win car-parking customers,” he added.

DAA branded the decision bad news for passengers, who it warned could face difficulty finding parking at Dublin Airport during the summer peak.

The company added that it found the commission’s view “baffling”, because allowing DAA to operate the car park would have lowered prices as it would have reopened 6,200 spaces to the public.

The complex closed in September 2020 in the face of strict Government Covid travel curbs.

DAA emerged as the only bidder for the property last year after Mr Gannon put it on the market for €70 million in 2022.

Kenny Jacobs, DAA chief executive, cautioned travellers to book car-parking spaces early. Demand is expected to surge next week when the Easter holiday begins.

DAA is considering all options, he added, including appealing the CCPC’s ruling to the High Court, a step it must take within 40 days.

Mr Jacobs pledged that DAA would keep car-parking charges this year in line with 2023 and would seek extra spaces on other sites while promoting alternatives to driving to the airport, including bus services.

“DAA did all it could over the past 13 months to satisfy the CCPC, including offering to give up as a remedy one third of the spaces to a third party,” he said.

The 23,000 existing spaces at the airport sold out several times last summer, prompting criticism from holidaymakers and airlines.

The CCPC maintains that the car park remains an attractive, viable business for buyers other than the airports company.

Its ruling states that had the deal gone ahead, DAA would have controlled more than nine out of every 10 car-parking spaces serving Dublin Airport.

“In the past, DAA responded to competition from Quick Park to win business, for example, through discounts and other promotional campaigns. If DAA purchased the car park, this competition would be lost,” said the commission.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas