- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Low-Cost Carrier
- Dublin Airport, London Stansted Airport, Milan Bergamo Airport
- Year Founded:
- Airline Group:
- Ryanair Group
- Eddie Wilson
A formal proposal for the tunnel was lodged by Dublin and Cork airport operator Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) last month after several years of discussions and delays. The proposal comes as part of DAA’s €2 billion capital investment to boost capacity, efficiency, and safety within Dublin Airport.
What’s in the proposal?
If planning permission is granted, the tunnel is set to connect the east and west campuses of the airport beneath Runway 16/34, providing “short, quick, and safe” access for cargo, fuel, and maintenance services that avoid traversing operating runways and taxiways.
Construction is purported to take around three years, with approximately 24,000 sqm (258,000 sqft) of paved surfaces across the taxiway and Runway 16/34 to be demolished. Two lanes spanning 1.1 km (0.7 miles) are to be built, including a fully enclosed 700 m (0.4 miles) component to be built 17.5m (57 ft) below the surface.
The objection, filed on behalf of Ryanair by Ray Ryan of BMA planning, contends that the business case for €200 million to be spent has not been made, and as Dublin Airport’s largest airline, it has a vested interest in any proposals that impact operations at the airport.
The opening of Dublin Airport’s new Northern Runway has restricted access between the east and western campuses to the airport’s northern ring road. Photo: Dublin Airport Authority
“If the current underpass project is allowed to proceed, it will contribute towards an excessively high per passenger price cap and damage the recovery of Irish aviation, which depends on the cost competitiveness of Dublin airport,” Ryan told Fingal County Council.
“[Ryanair] is concerned that these proposals will lead to considerable disruption to airport activities during the construction phase and that whether alternatives have been adequately addressed.”
Ryan continued, arguing that the costs will be passed onto the airlines and ultimately the consumers, potentially reducing the cost competitiveness of the airport and eventual relocation of capacity to cheaper, alternative airports.
The application was filed shortly after the opening of Dublin Airport’s new €320 million Northern Runway in August, with access between the eastern and western campuses now being limited to the airport’s northern perimeter road. The documents state that the Irish Aviation Authority requires an alternative solution to be implemented as soon as possible, citing safety concerns.
As Dublin Airport’s largest airline, Ryanair contends that it has a vested interest in anything that impacts operations at Ireland’s busiest airport. Photo: Getty Images
“The underpass is required to improve access and safety on the airfield, allowing for the segregation of aircraft and vehicles and the safe movement of vehicles to the West Apron, which is restricted following the opening of the new North Runway on August 24th, 2022,” Group Head of Communications for DAA, Kevin Cullinane told local media on Wednesday.
“Safe access to the West Apron is critically important to existing cargo operations, transit operations, general aviation, standby parking and contingency stands. [The underpass] will be critical to ensure Dublin Airport maintains the highest international safety standards and meets current and future operational requirements.”
However, Ryanair asserts that the underpass is unnecessary because vehicular access between the east and west apron is achievable on service levels if Runway 15/34 is closed intermittently to allow for vehicular access but retained for crosswind landings.
A decision is expected later this month.
What are your thoughts on Ryanair’s objections to DAA’s proposal? Let us know in the comments.