Published on May 20th, 2015 | by Jim Lee


Increased traffic, new services, new image and infrastructural improvements at Dublin Airport


Latest traffic figures for April, released by the daa on 15th May 2015, show that passenger numbers were up 11%, to just over two million passengers. This is the first month of the summer schedule (albeit nowhere near the peak), and passenger volumes to and from Continental Europe grew by 9%, with almost 1.1 million passengers travelling to and from the ‘continent’ in April. UK traffic increased by 13%, as almost 732,000 passengers travelled to and from the UK during the month.

Transatlantic passenger volumes grew by 5%, with almost 165,000 passengers travelling to and from North America in April. Other international traffic, predominantly to the Middle East, recorded a 23% increase, as almost 62,000 passengers travelled to and from these destinations in April. Domestic traffic rose by 16%, with more than 6,000 passengers travelling on domestic routes in April – although it is insignificant in statistical terms – representing a little over .5% of total traffic.

Almost 6.8 million passengers have travelled through Dublin Airport in the first four months of this year, which is a 15% increase over the same period last year, which means that Dublin Airport has welcomed an extra 870,000 passengers so far this year.

Figures for March were even more impressive, with more than 1.8 million passengers being recorded, a 19% increase over the same month in 2014. Again continental Europe traffic was impressive, with a 21% increase and almost 858,000 passengers. UK traffic rose by 17%, with just over 760,000 passengers travelling to and from the UK in March. Again domestic travellers, although increasing by 52%, only amounted to some 6,000 passengers. Passenger volumes to and from North America grew by 8% with almost 131,000 passengers travelling on transatlantic routes in March. Other international passenger traffic to the Middle East grew by 45% with just over 63,000 passengers travelling in the month, compared to the same period last year.

21 New Services this summer at Dublin Airport

Dublin Airport 75th Anniversary logo (IMG1876A JL)Dublin Airport’s spectacular success and increasing traffic is likely to continue over the summer, thanks to 21 new routes/services, which will deliver almost two million extra seats, an 11% increase in capacity compared to last summer. With this extra capacity, this summer is set to be the busiest yet since passenger numbers reached their peak in 2008.

Dublin Airport Managing Director, Vincent Harrison said that the daa was particularly pleased that Dublin will have a direct connection to sub Saharan Africa this summer. This will make it easier for customers to access three continents – Africa, Europe and North America – thanks to Ethiopian Airline’s new Addis Ababa-Dublin-Los Angeles route, as well as new direct services to Europe, the Middle East and North America. “Significant increases in seat capacity and frequency on 25 existing routes will give our customers greater flexibility and more options” he added. Passengers can now choose from 167 scheduled destinations from Dublin to 15 destinations in North America, 25 cities in the UK, 122 destinations in Continental Europe, three African destinations, and two destinations in the Middle East. Looking at the two the Middle East destinations in particular, seat capacity between Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways and Dubai with Emirates is significantly up over last summer, as both airlines now offer a double daily service.

The number of additional seats to and from North America is up 18%, with an extra 300,000 seats this year, with new services to Washington DC (Aer Lingus), Los Angeles (Ethiopian Airlines), Chicago (United Airlines) and Europe Airpost (Halifax, Nova Scotia). Aer Lingus is also adding a third daily Dublin-JFK service for the peak summer season. The peak summer months will see 10 airlines flying 328 flights per week to and from 11 destinations in the US and four destinations in Canada, which equates to an average of 47 flights daily to and from North America.

Capacity on European routes is set to increase by 9%, with almost 800,000 additional seats available this summer and new services to Copenhagen and Lublin (Ryanair), Agadir and Nantes (Aer Lingus), Gothenburg (SAS) and Geneva (SWISS). Other new routes are to Barcelona (Vueling), Reykjavik (WOW Air), Paris (Transavia to Orly and Europe Airpost (CDG) and to Helsinki (Finnair), a new route that will continue into the winter season.

Improving the infrastructure

As Dublin Airport celebrate 75 years of connecting Ireland to the world this year, major upgrades are underway or planned, to improve the facility. During 2014, a €4 million upgrade of the Terminal 1’s multi-storey car park was completed, bringing the facility up to the latest standards of car park design and offering consumers a significantly improved product. More recently, on 12th March the daa announced that it had opened a new €8 million retail area in Terminal 1. The new state-of-the-art retail area, which comprises more than 1,700m² (18,300 sq ft) of new and improved stores, offers consumers a radically improved shopping experience, as part of an upgrade of facilities in the terminal. Other significant projects are detailed in the following paragraphs.

In the longer term given the growth at Dublin, and mindful of the requirement to manage Dublin Airport in the best interests of its passengers and other stake holders, the daa is currently evaluating the options for the construction of a second parallel runway in the medium term.

€20 Million investment in major new aircraft parking area

Dublin Airport Apron works (daa)

Airside, a major capacity boost is underway, with the addition of ten new aircraft parking spaces and three new aircraft taxiing lanes. This is part of a €20 million project, located to the northern end of the airfield (i.e. north of Pier 1). It has been designed to provide remote parking stands for up to 13 Code E aircraft (up to Boeing 737/Airbus A320 family size), or 10 Code C plus 2 Code E (up to Airbus A330/Boeing 747 size), or 10 Code C, 2 Code D (Boeing 757/767) and 1 Code E. As these new stands are remote stands, passengers will have to be taken by bus to and from the terminal building. The construction work is being carried out by Clare Civil Engineering, which will have up to 30 construction staff on site at any one time. The project, which is known as Apron 5G, is due to be completed in April 2016, and also includes additional high mast lighting and a new electrical substation.

The new apron area being developed covers about 67,500m² (726,565 sq ft), which is equivalent in size to 15 football pitches, or a space big enough to park 900 cars. The first phase of the project, which is currently underway, involves two months of earth moving and drainage work after which contractors will begin laying the concrete that forms the top layer of the new parking area.

The parking stand project also includes the replacement and upgrading of drainage infrastructure, and the provision of underground surface water attenuation and storage. These environmental measures will ensure that all surface water run-offs from the new parking stands will be collected and released in a controlled and carefully managed way back into the local water system.

However with substantial additional long-haul services planned for summer 2015, the congestion problems experience last year are likely to get worse. A particular problem is the early morning peak and an increasing shortage of aircraft parking stands, particularly in Terminal 2. This means that aircraft have to be parked off stand and towed to their Terminal 2 departure stands which adds to ramp congestion. Aer Lingus has already expressed concerns that Ethiopian Airlines’ operations will make the shortage of gate capacity, at peak transatlantic times, more acute. As an interim step to improve the situation for the morning peak, a new parking stand, designated 308T, is being introduced at the south-eastern corner of Pier 3, beside the blast fence. This new stand, located behind Stands 307C/307R, unfortunately blocks aircraft entering or exiting these stands, but is intended for use on early morning departures only.

Following a taxiing collision between two Ryanair Boeing 737-800s on 1st April (see preliminary report), Taxiways A and B2 have been closed by the Irish Aviation Authority. Unfortunately this has led to an increase in taxiway congestion and ground delays. This is particularly acute during the morning peak (0630 – 0800). This has led to changes in the dual runway operations, with traffic using runway 34 now having to queue at the holding point, before proceeding via Taxiway E1 around by the threshold of runway 28 to line up on runway 34. In addition, the taxiway closures are causing delays for arriving traffic which have to make a detour via the M taxiways and around by the apron, when heading for stands on Terminal 2 and on some in Pier 3 (T1). For details of stands and taxiways see here.

Dublin Airport investing €14 Million to expand T2 car park

Dublin Airport carparks improvements (daa)

Work has already started on a major upgrade on the Terminal 2 multi-storey car park, which will more than double the number of available spaces, in a €14 million investment. The extra car parking spaces are required, due to the significant growth in traffic at Dublin Airport, over the past three years and strong demand for short-term car parking, particularly at Terminal 2.

The existing T2 multi-storey car park opened on a phased based between November 2010 and February 2011, which coincided with the opening of Terminal 2. According to the daa, Terminal 2’s short term car parking is predominantly used by business travellers between September and April. Therefore construction work, will take place during the quieter period for business travel, which is during the summer months. The expansion is designed to meet growing customer demand for short-term car parking spaces located close to the terminals and will add a further 1,400 spaces to the T2 car park.

The project which is being carried out by Balfour Beatty with four new floors being added to the existing structure, which fortunately, was originally designed to allow for such future expansion. The upgrade will bring the overall number of car parking spaces within the T2 multi-storey facility to more than 2,500. The additional spaces will be handed over on a phased basis during construction and the project is due for completion in December 2015.

The new extension will be made from steel rather than pre-cast concrete, which reduces the weight of the structure and the cost. The T2 car park will be open as normal during the construction works, but the number of spaces available will be reduced. Accordingly a traffic management system will be in place for the duration of the project. A further 350 car parking spaces are now available close to Terminal 2 in the upgraded T2 Plus surface car park which was opened last December.

A further €10 million being invested in the former Aer Lingus Head Office building

Dublin Airport Aer Lingus former head office (IMG1911A JL)

Having been granted planning permission for the refurbishment of the 45-year-old former Aer Lingus Head Office building, work has commenced on the estimated €10 million redevelopment. The six storey over basement building, which occupies a key site in the centre of the airport campus, will be known in future as One, Dublin Airport Central and is currently being marketed to potential tenants. The regeneration process will include a new triple-glazed façade, improved insulation, which will allow it to get a Grade A specification, a LEED gold certification and an A3 energy rating before it is ready for fit-out by the end of the year.

The flexible layout of the building, which has a floor area of 8,300m² (89,400 sq ft), will allow it to be leased to a single tenant, or on a multi-let basis, thanks to a dual access reception area which was incorporated in the plans. PJ Walls has been appointed as design and build contractors, while Henry J Lyons are acting as architect and design consultants. About 60 jobs will be created during the construction phase and an estimated 700 people will be based there when the offices are fully let.

With the installation of T50 broadband throughout, the refurbished building should appeal particularly to large multi-national corporations looking for a European or EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) headquarters. This is because it also offers considerable advantages over similar locations in south Dublin, which are somewhat isolated and subject to traffic congestion at peak times. Other advantages of the airport site is its sophisticated information technology infrastructure, round the clock security, a wide range of restaurants and bars, a fitness centre and a large number of sports facilities. It also has 1,500 local and national bus and coach movements on a daily basis.

The refurbishment will generate additional commercial income for the daa and also provide a significant aesthetic improvement to the airport campus. The work is part of the first phase of a planned 70-acre business park, within the central Dublin Airport horseshoe area, adjacent to Terminal 2. This area has High Technology zoning under the current Fingal County Development Plan. The zoning permits the development of a high quality office and landscaped environment, to include activities such as; high technology, manufacturing, research and development and innovation.

Nearby fast food restaurant operator McDonald’s opened a new drive-through outlet with seating for 150 people, at the airport’s main exit road, last August. This completed the major commercial redevelopment of that particular area, which now comprises a McDonald’s and a state-of-the-art Topaz service station. Collectively, the two outlets offer additional convenience and choice to airport passengers and to those working on the campus. In addition, their advent has also boosted the daa’s overall commercial income and also improved the physical appearance of the departure journey from the airport by road.

………… and finally

Dublin Airport logo (IMG1882A JL)

The daa has introduced a revised branding for Dublin Airport to better differentiate it from daa Group structure, which also manages Cork Airport. The new identity modernises the airport’s identity and introduces a revised corporate logo.

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About the Author

Jim has had a life-long interest in military matters and aviation. Initially, he fused both of these interests together with a passion for military aviation, initially as a photographer. He has travelled extensively over the years and has been the guest of many European air forces, plus the air forces of the United States, Russia and others throughout the world. His first introduction to journalism coincided with an interest in the civil aviation industry was when he initially wrote for and later edited, ‘Aviation Ireland’, the club magazine of the Aviation Society of Ireland. Jim was a contributor to Flying in Ireland since its inception over 10 years ago and is now a key contributor to this site. He has also contributed items for a number of other aviation magazines and has produced a number of detailed contributions to Government policy documents, most recently the Irish Government’s White Paper on Defence. He is also deeply involved in the local community and voluntary sector and has worked both in local government and central government.

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