THE GOVERNMENT has admitted that its own deadline for construction of Dublin Airport's second terminal will be missed by two years.
It was now expected to be some time in 2011 before T2 would be commissioned, Transport Minister Noel Dempsey said yesterday.
And Ryanair said it will seek a court order stopping all work on the terminal until its legal challenge is heard and the decision to allow building work to commence is reversed.
Ryanair spokesman Jim Callaghan said the planning permission granted on Wednesday was in breach of planning guidelines and that its High Court challenge would also centre on the lack of access to the airport.
There would be sufficient capacity to cater for 26m passengers -- three million more than is currently needed -- when an extended terminal opens in October, and the airport would grow for another two years without passengers being affected.
"We're going to apply for a stay on construction," Mr Callaghan said last night.
"The airport is saying this has to be built by 2009, but the Minister says it won't be built until 2011.
"We're not just trying to block development at the airport, but why not build a low-cost terminal. If we got the green light tomorrow we could have a new terminal in 18 months."
Yesterday Mr Dempsey said the delay in having the terminal built was costing the Dublin Airport Authority €3m a week.
He said the date was originally set for the end of 2009, with commissioning in 2010, but there had been delays in the planning process which set this back. "It is unfortunate that there have been such delays which put things back six or seven months," he said.
"But it is now expected it will be 2011 before it is fully commissioned and that is really pushing the extremities of this."
He said he knew from speaking to the Dublin Airport Authority that they would try to get this completed as quickly as possible. "The delay in planning has been costing them €3m a week and obviously they are not going to hang around.
"Hopefully, the legal challenges can be quickly dismissed and we can move on to the construction," he added.
Mr Dempsey said that the new terminal was a welcome decision.
"This is absolutely necessary. Everybody has had the experience of moving in and out of Dublin Airport and we all know there are huge problems there space-wise.
"I often wonder how people can get around the airport. It is a tribute to the staff there that things work as well as they do in the circumstances," he said.
"It will be a huge opportunity to increase competition at the airport and to attract new business," he added.