Economy faces €392m hit if Dublin runway restrictions remain, consultants warn

Planning limits night flights and curtails usage time

The Irish economy will lose out on 5,170 jobs and a positive economic impact of €392 million by the end of 2023 if “problematic” planning restrictions on Dublin Airport’s new €320 million runway are not removed, according to a new report.

The report, by consultants InterVistas, has been lodged with Fingal County Council by Dublin Airport operator DAA in its bid to have two restrictions attached to the 2007 planning permission for its new runway removed.

The planning conditions specify that the runway will not be used at night between 11pm and 7am and that night-time operations at the airport not exceed 65 flights on average when the airport runway is complete.

The runway is expected to be operational next year, and InterVistas warn that if the planning restrictions are not removed the economic impact would reach a high in 2023, with 5,170 jobs and €392 million in gross domestic product (GDP) lost.


"To put this into context, the number of jobs forgone at its peak in 2023 is higher than the total employment of either Google or Facebook in Ireland," the report says, and the airport would also lose out on a cumulative 6.3 million passengers between 2022 and 2025.

The InterVistas report said the two planning restrictions attached to the 2007 permission were “particularly problematic due to the significant negative implications they pose for the potential of the airport to operate, grow and deliver the maximum economic and societal benefit”.

Covid impact

InterVistas submitted an initial report on the economic impact when plans were first lodged last December and submitted an updated report in May to reflect the Covid-19 impact on projected traffic.

The consultants said that the operating restrictions in the 2007 permission "particularly impact on the recovery and growth of Ryanair and Aer Lingus who require early morning departure and late evening arrivals for their short-haul operations".

The report estimates that the impact of the restrictions would extend across the entire economy due to the lower connectivity that Dublin Airport would be able to offer.

In an objection to the airport operator’s ’s plan to lift restrictions on the runway, Minister for Children and Dublin West TD Roderic O’Gorman branded as “unacceptable” the noise levels that local residents would be faced with if the planning restrictions were lifted.

However, the airline industry has thrown its weight behind the plans with 15 carriers – including Dublin Airport’s two main customers, Ryanair and Aer Lingus – offering their support.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times