Wednesday 24 October 2007

Ryanair challenge to 'costly' terminal

RYANAIR yesterday kicked off a legal challenge against the decision to grant planning permission to Dublin Airport's second terminal.

The low-fares airline says the terminal plans should be overthrown because they are too costly.

If the challenge succeeds, work on the terminal could be halted until a new design can be approved, causing untold delays and additional costs.

But Dublin Airport director Robert Hilliard insisted that work would continue on the €395m project "until there's an injunction", adding that Ryanair's legal challenge had "the smallest of small" chances of success.

Meanwhile Ryanair said last night it was "confident of success" in the action.

Ryanair's challenge centres on An Bord Pleanala's August decision to grant planning permission to the first phase of the airport's second terminal.

At the time, Ryanair slammed the plans as "gold-plated" and said they would lead to "a doubling of the already high passenger charges".

In legal documents lodged yesterday, Ryanair says the planning board's decision to grant permission was "unreasonable and irrational''. Ryanair's filings also claim the terminal will cost at least €609m, while the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) puts its cost at €395m.

In addition, the low-cost airline says An Bord Pleanala exceeded its jurisdiction by increasing the terminal's capacity by two million passengers a year, to 32 million.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday admitted Ryanair's challenge to the big business division of the High Court, the Commercial Court.

Laura Noonan and Diarmaid McDermott
Irish Independent

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