McEvaddy plan to ‘double’ Dublin Airport passengers

Proposed new terminal earmarked for land between existing runways that brothers are trying to sell

Businessmen brothers Des and Ulick McEvaddy say they could double passenger numbers at Dublin Airport to 64 million with a new terminal on land they own close to its runways that is for sale.

Their company, DA Terminal 3 Ltd, has submitted “concept plans” to Fingal County Council for a third terminal on their site between the airport’s runways.

According to a spokesman, while airport operator DAA plans to spend €2.2 billion to boost traffic to 40 million passengers a year by 2030 from 32 million, the McEvaddys’ proposals “will double capacity” for the same investment.

He dubbed the DAA’s current plan as “shortsighted”, saying it lacked any clear vision or strategy, while the airport itself fell short of acceptable standards.


“With our plan, Dublin Airport can become a global aviation hub and a centre for commercial activity,” said the spokesman. He argued that the airport was vital to the Republic, which he predicted would need the infrastructure to cater for continued growth in air travel.

The proposed site lies west of Dublin Airport’s existing facilities. DA Terminal 3′s proposals quote a Government-commissioned report from consultants Oxford Economics suggesting it is an easier and cheaper location to expand the airport.

That report argues that building a new terminal on the site would cut the “wider costs” of redeveloping the existing roads into the airport to cope with extra traffic. However, the economists acknowledged that this option itself involved extra costs for linking the existing and third terminals, and from the necessary closure of Dublin’s cross runway, which connects its two main airstrips.

The plan also highlights access to runways operated by DAA as key to the development.

Kenny Jacobs, DAA chief executive, told politicians last year that the company did not believe the McEvaddy site would be suitable for a third terminal, should it decide to build one.

The McEvaddys are well known in aviation and founded the military aircraft refuelling business Omega Air. They have long argued the case for a new Dublin Airport terminal on the site between its runways.

The property remains on the market. The brothers and co-owners Seán Fox and Brendan and Orla O’Donoghue offered it for sale 11 months ago. They dismissed a DAA offer of €75 million, maintaining that others remained interested, but no alternative bidder has emerged. The brothers pledged to talk to all stakeholders in a statement on Tuesday.

Planners have limited Dublin’s passengers to 32 million a year. DAA last December asked Fingal council to increase this to 40 million in an application to extend the airport’s facilities.

However, DA Terminal 3 says this is not enough, and is planning for a bigger increase in passengers.

DA Terminal 3 submitted the plan to Fingal council in March. The hurdles it faces before becoming a reality include a pre-planning process and then a full application for permission to build the facility.

The company says its proposal takes local area plans into account, along with the views of Fingal council, An Bord Pleanála – the planning appeals board – and the Aircraft Noise Competent Authority.

A DAA spokesman said the State company was focused on its own infrastructure application but noted that the McEvaddys were seeking to develop land they were also trying to sell.

“We wish the best to the McEvaddys and no doubt there will be a lot to consider for the planning authorities should a planning application be submitted at some future point,” he said.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

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