Fuel pipeline to link Dublin port and airport

Backers say underground pipe across north Dublin safer than fuel tankers

A planning application for an aviation fuel pipeline between Dublin port and Dublin airport is to be lodged with the City and Fingal councils in coming weeks. The project envisages replacing existing road tanker traffic with direct pipeline supply and would involve major works along suburban routes such as the Malahide Road.

The project, proposed by a company called Independent Pipeline Company, is backed by Co Laois-based engineering concern Fingleton White, and Dublin-based fuel transporters Reynolds Logistics .

Fingleton White previously received planning permission for an underground pipeline between the port and airport in 2001, but this was never built due to uncertainty in the aviation industry after the attack on New York’s Twin Towers. The original route of the pipeline was via East Wall and Clonliffe roads to Drumcondra and onwards via Whitehall and Santry to the airport.

Welded steel

However, the latest application takes a 4.4km longer route from the port, travelling along East Wall Road, Alfie Byrne Road, Clontarf Road, and via the Howth Road and Copeland Avenue to the Malahide Road.


The pipeline then follows the Malahide Road, passing through Donnycarney, Artane and Coolock before turning west at the Clare Hall roundabout and going via Darndale, Belcamp and the Clonshaugh Road to skirt the Aer Lingus sports club, and across the M1 motorway to the airport.

The pipeline is to be made of continuous welded steel and would have a diameter of 200mm with an outer wall of 12.7mm. It would be set in a trench 1.5m below the road, with 1.2m of cover.

The developers say the project would take 10 months to complete, including six months construction on public roads, and traffic diversions of just two to three days outside any one business premises.

John Fingleton, a director of Fingleton White, said the level of investment in the project was commercially sensitive, but he said it is known that such pipes typically cost about €1 million per kilometre to construct. On that basis the overall cost of the pipeline would be about €20 million including planning and design.

Mr Fingleton said the decision to switch the route from Santry to the other side of the M1 was taken in conjunction with Dublin City Council, in line with more recent traffic projections and estimates of congestion. The developers have been in pre-planning discussions with the council on the project for a number of years, he said.

The planning application will be also lodged with Fingal County Council.

Mr Fingleton said six routes were examined by the developers and the council, with the Malahide Road route coming out as the optimal one in terms of disruption.

He said public briefings in the area of the pipeline had shown people were more concerned with the construction related disturbance, than possible safety considerations.


In a fact sheet distributed to residents at two public briefings this week, the developers said transporting fuel by pipelines was safer than moving it in tankers by road, as happens currently. Fuel pipelines have been used internationally since the 1940s and there are 35,000km of such pipelines in Europe, according to the briefing notes.

The fuel is known as Jet A1 aviation fuel which is more commonly known as Kerosene. It is also used in domestic central heating systems and stored in tanks in gardens throughout the city.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist