Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Plan for second terminal 'nonsense'

PLANS by the Dublin Airport Authority to build a second terminal are a "nonsense" and are designed to raise costs and passenger charges, Ryanair said yesterday.

Its history of "bad, excessively expensive development" means the total cost of developing the terminal - known as T2 - and associated works will be €842m, and not €610m as the DAA claims, the airline claimed.

Yesterday Ryanair's Head of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Jim Callaghan, told a planning hearing that the DAA had failed to include the €150m 'write-off' of the airport's Pier C when arriving at a final cost.

This had resulted in the cost of the terminal quadrupling from €170m-€200m when it was first announced in September 2005, compared with the €840m bill Ryanair expects the DAA to meet. And he said that if T2 is built, passenger charges could almost double because the airport regulator based passenger charges on the value of assets held by the airport.

The high-cost facility would be bad news for consumers, while Pier C would be "wasted", he added.

T2 could accommodate up to 40 million passengers each year which would be a "manifest breach" of the 30 million a year cap envisaged in the Fingal County Council local area plan on numbers going through the airport. Had the DAA decided to build a €200m facility to accommodate 15 million passengers as it first proposed in 2005, Ryanair would support the plans. But the €842m cost - which the DAA has refuted - could not be justified.

"Most cities in Europe have a low-cost airport or terminal which Dublin hasn't. Ryanair offered to build and pay for a second terminal, but the Government decided to go with the Dublin Airport Authority.

No consideration had been given to building a new terminal to the north of the airport, which would have been more convenient to the existing terminal. Louise Congdon, an airport planning specialist appearing on behalf of Ryanair, said: "If Ryanair assumes control of Aer Lingus it will not use T2 and the development will be abortive."

Paul Melia
Irish Independent

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