Tuesday 19 June 2007

DAA urges T2 planning decision

DUBLIN Airport Authority (DAA) has warned it could miss its target of having a new terminal built by the summer of 2009 if it does not get final planning permission by the end of the month.

Fingal County Council approved the €1.2 billion expansion of the airport in October last year but an appeal to An Bord Pleanála by Ryanair and local residents has held up the beginning of construction.

An oral hearing by the board concluded several weeks ago and the DAA said yesterday that T2, as the new terminal has been called, needed the go-ahead as soon as possible.

DAA chairman Gary McGann said yesterday: “We must hope, given An Bord Pleanála’s many commitments, it is in a position to prioritise its deliberations on T2 — given Dublin Airport’s strategic importance for millions of passengers and the overall economy.”

There was, however, more certainty about the financing of the DAA’s expansion plans over the next few years. The DAA said it has been in discussions with the Commission for Aviation Regulation and was now confident that it would be able to recoup 95% of the cost of the expansion through higher passenger charges once T2 is finished.

The regulator is due to make a final determination on airport charges nest week.

DAA chief executive Declan Collier said the company would have to borrow €1.2bn to fund the expansion plans, which also includes a new runway and an extension to the existing terminal building.

The DAA yesterday released its annual report for 2006 showing pre-tax profits, including exceptional items, of €203 million, up from €63.9m.

Turnover at the DAA rose 12.5% last year to €591m. Excluding the Great Southern Hotel chain, which was sold off, turnover form continuing operations was 15% higher at €555.2m.

Around half of the company’s turnover was derived form its commercial activities, such as car parks and duty free shops, a rise of €22.5m on 2006, while revenues from aeronautical charges rose by €34.6m reflecting an increase in people using Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports.

Passenger numbers hit a record in 2006, particularly at Dublin where growth was faster than at any of Europe’s 35 largest airports.

Irish Examiner

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