THIS is the gleaming, futuristic sight that will greet the 10 million passengers set to pass through Dublin's Airport's new Pier D in the next year.
Travellers destined for the new pier will be whisked there by a sleek-looking 'skybridge' complete with travelators. Their various departure and arrival needs will be catered for by state-of-the-art facilities.
It was smiles all round at Dublin Airport yesterday as the €120m wonder of architecture that is Pier D was formally unveiled.
Dublin Airport Authority chairman Gary McGann told the assembled crowd that the project was "on time and on budget".
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, also made an appearance for the formal unveiling.
Both men went on to stress that Pier D was just the first phase in a much larger plan, with the DAA on target to spend more than €1m a day next year.
"This is a state-of-the-art facility, up to the best of international standards," said Mr Ahern.
He added that the views, in particular, were "spectacular".
Mr McGann admitted that the pier would handle less than half of Dublin Airport's annual passengers, currently running at about 23 million. Even those who were accommodated in Pier D for landing or take-off would still have to trek through parts of the often-congested main airport.
"The quality of what we've developed here in comparison with the temporary situation is a massive improvement," he said. "People will see evidence that at least the end is near.
"For all the other passengers (who won't use Pier D), we have to go as fast as we can go and as fast as planning is allowing us to go to move on all the other infrastructure," he said.
The next major piece of infrastructure is the airport's second terminal, due to be opened in 2010.
Our picture of the new pier is by Irish Independent photographer Frank McGrath.
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