Dublin Airport is pledging not to use its new north runway from midnight to 6am in an attempt to change planning conditions limiting night-time flights across the gateway once the airstrip opens in 2022.
Original planning conditions – dating back to 2007 – limit flights between 11pm and 7am to 65 in total across Dublin Airport as a whole from the point which the runway begins operating.
Dublin Airport's owner, State company DAA, confirmed on Friday that it has asked Fingal County Council to alter the conditions, which it is feared will hamper operations at key times for flights landing and taking off.
Before Covid-19 struck, the number of flights in and out Dublin during the times highlighted in the planning permission was about 100.
DAA’s application proposes that Dublin not use the north runway from midnight to 6am, although flights would continue to land and take off on the airport’s other two runways during those hours.
The State company is also proposing a quota system to manage noise from the airport between 11.30pm and 6am. Along with that, it is offering grants of €20,000 each to 350 homes most affected by noise, a total of €7 million.
DAA already has an insulation programme for 200 nearby homes while it has offered to buy 38 dwellings at a significant premium to their value had the new runway not been built.
Dalton Philips, DAA chief executive, said Dublin Airport did not intend to add "lots more flights in the middle of the night" but explained that the hour from 6am to 7am was its busiest time of day.
“The new proposal balances the requirements of the Irish economy with the valid concerns of the local community,” he added.
Legislation passed last year named Fingal County Council as the competent authority to regulate noise at Dublin Airport.
The authority must consider three things: reducing the source of noise, including the aircraft themselves; land-use planning and management; and procedures to reduce noise.
Flight restrictions can only be considered once these three options have been exhausted.
Dublin Airport’s proposed quota system will cap the overall effects of noise from aircraft, incentivising carriers to use quieter planes there.
“The number of planes is the wrong measure, the focus should be on the amount and effects of noise,” said Mr Philips.
Airports including Brussels, Heathrow and Madrid already use a quota system focused on limiting the overall amount of noise generated by aircraft.