Control tower lifts Dublin runway costs to €370m

Dublin Airport Authority confirms it is going ahead with 3,110m runway

Dublin Airport will need a new 87m high air traffic control tower along with its second runway, bringing the cost of developments there to a possible €370 million.

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) confirmed on Thursday that it is going ahead with its plans for a new 3,110m runway, parallel to its existing one, at a cost of €320 million.

The move means that the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), responsible for air traffic control, will have to go ahead with its plans for a new 87m tower at the airport that it said would cost between €40 million and €50 million.

The IAA said that the tower is needed to ensure safety and pointed out that other airports with parallel runways, including Manchester and Istanbul, have similar structures.


DAA intends to begin work on the new runway soon and expects it will be finished by 2020. Earlier this year it estimated that the runway project would cost €250 million, but it put the figure at €320 million on Thursday.

Flight restrictions

The State company intends challenging two conditions restricting flights at the airport that were tied to the original planning permission that it received for the project from

An Bord Pleanála

in 2007.

The first restricts it from using the new runway early in the morning. The second limits the number of flights between 11pm and 7am to 65. DAA chief executive Kevin Toland said these were unworkable on Thursday.

“That would be like adding extra capacity to the M50 [motorway] and then not being able to use that lane first thing in the morning,” he said.

Mr Toland added that there are now up to 99 flights between 11pm and 7am.

The company believes modern, less noisy aircraft combined with sound-proofing schemes for nearby homes and schools, on which it has begun work, will eliminate the need for the conditions.

Airlines welcomed the announcement but voiced concern at the €320 million cost. Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said that his company supported the development.

“It’s the right thing to do but it has to be done in the right way and at the right cost,” he said. “We will talk to the DAA next week to see what can be done to get it done at a low cost.”

‘Serious hub’

Aer Lingus

said that it supported improvements at Dublin Airport that got maximum value from existing investments.

Gulf carrier Emirates also welcomed the news. "If Dublin is to also accommodate larger aircraft and act as a serious hub for Europe, Transatlantic and Middle Eastern connections it undoubtedly needs a new, longer runway," said its country manager, Enda Corneillie.

A DAA spokeswoman said that the increase in the estimated cost takes into account the need for rapid-exit taxi-ways to maximise use of the airport, a fire station as well as construction inflation, which is running at 4 per cent to 5 per cent a year.

The IAA said that to date it has delivered all of its projects on time and on budget. It has hired experts to weigh up the possibility of using new remote technology, which could cost €25 million to €30 million, but no major international airport uses this system.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

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