Dublin Airport has warned passengers travelling this weekend that all 23,000 car parking spaces are sold out, and advises those who have not booked a space to consider taking public transport.
Speaking ahead of one of the busiest travel weekends of the year so far, airport operator DAA claimed that failure to sanction a new car parking facility was hindering its efforts.
Up to 425,000 passengers are expected to travel through Dublin Airport this weekend, according to DAA, as peak summer season travel begins in earnest with the closure of schools.
The four-day period between Friday and Monday will see around 220,000 passengers departing from the airport, with a further 205,000 passengers arriving - on a par with pre-pandemic levels.
DAA spokesman Graeme McQueen said: “Passengers should consider a more sustainable option such as one of the many bus services that serve the airport, or alternatively taking a taxi or being dropped off by a friend or relative.
“The number of parking spaces available at Dublin Airport is still reduced by 20 per cent due to Quick Park’s 6,200 spaces being out of action, as they were last summer. This is increasing the pressure on our own 23,000 car park spaces, with passenger numbers now back at pre-Covid levels.”
DAA has placed a successful bid to purchase the currently-closed Quick Park facility but that move is now under review by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), which must approve the deal. The CCPC, whose role is to ensure such an acquisition does not result in a “substantial lessening of competition”, said last week that its process had not prevented the operation of a car park.
Hotels near Dublin Airport offer parking to non-guests but many of these facilities are sold out this weekend. Operators of the Metro Hotel’s Park & Fly service and the Clayton Hotel Dublin Airport parking and shuttle service are appealing to the public to book well in advance of travel, especially during busy periods.
Clayton Hotel Dublin Airport also offers parking and a shuttle bus facility to people not staying at the hotel, with a space costing €14 a day. It has no minimum stay but is sold out this Saturday and Sunday.
The operators of the app Parkpnp, which allows people to rent out parking spaces that they are not using at their home or other premises, have reported a surge in new applications since Dublin Airport announced capacity issues last week.
“The app allows a person to rent out a car-parking space they are not using and make money out of it. The prices vary and are up to €30 depending on where you are located in the country etc. We then take a percentage commission from the amount that they charge,” explained Garret Flower, who set up Parkpnp several years ago.
The Longford native who now lives in New York, said: “A person looking for a car-parking space can log on to the app and see if a place is available close to where they are going. All transactions are carried out electronically. Since the issue with car-parking spaces at Dublin Airport was highlighted on Tuesday, 10,000 additional people are using the app.”
The app is now being used in 24 countries and has more than one million users, of which 130,000 are based in Ireland, Mr Flower added.
Retiree Linda Lawlor from Swords has been using the app since 2019 to rent out space on her driveway.
“There is no interaction between me and those parking on the driveway,” she told RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline earlier this week. “They usually use it for early morning and late flights.” Ms Lawlor, who lives 10 minutes from the airport, charges €7.50 per day and said that there “has never been any problem” with people using her spare parking space.
Rory Fitzgerald, general manager of Dublin Express, said the company has added extra buses along routes around the Dublin. “We already have 200 in operation and have put on extra to cope with the demand. The demand for airport transport even prior to the current situation has been growing and growing. The current situation is not the fault of the DAA as their hands are tied at the moment.”
However, local councillors representing the Fingal area, in which the airport is located place, the blame entirely with the airport authority.
Fingal Independent councillor Dean Mulligan said the parking problems at the airport “are of DAA’s own making as they have known for a long period of time passenger numbers are soaring.”
Cllr Mulligan added: “They need to push the National Transport Authority to alleviate the situation as they don’t have the capacity to deal with the numbers of passengers travelling let alone car parking problems.
“Several housing estates such as Royal Oak, North Wood and Santry Close are always being used for parking by airport passengers. Using private parking outside people’s homes is not going to solve this problem.”
Sinn Féin councillor for Swords Ann Graves said the DAA should not be “increasing the number of flights in and out of the airport if they don’t have the facilities such as car-parking to cope”.
“Thirty-two years ago I moved into this area and we were promised the Metro North public transport system would be built and arrive within a few years and we’re still waiting for it to turn-up”.