Published on July 17th, 2016 | by Jim Lee0
Dublin Airport welcomes 100,000 passengers in a single day as new services and customer improvements are added
Dublin Airport had its busiest day ever in its 76 year history on Friday, 24th June, when over 100,000 passengers, travelled through the airport. To put this in perspective, this daily total is equal to almost twice the passenger numbers, recorded at Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, in the first five months of the year. It also exceeds the totals recorded for the first four months of the year at City of Derry airport and Newquay in the United Kingdom, a major tourist location on Cornwall’s Atlantic Coast.
To put it in context for our Irish readers, this is equal to almost twice the capacity of the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, or more than the populations of 11 Irish counties (Kilkenny, Westmeath, Laois, Offaly, Cavan, Sligo, Roscommon, Monaghan, Carlow, Longford, and Leitrim).
An obviously pleased, Vincent Harrison, Dublin Airport Managing Director said: “We have welcomed 17 new routes and services this year and another two long haul routes will be launched in September. Every single week since 15th May has been busier than our busiest week in 2015. And this will also be the case for every week right through to early October.”
New services continue to be added
The growth in the number of people travelling can be attributed to a range of factors including the many new routes and services at Dublin Airport, lower oil prices which make for competitive fares, the good performance of the Irish economy and the lowest unemployment rates since 2008.
In a piece posted on 26th June, we noted that two airlines had filed schedules for new services to Dublin, Fly One, a Moldovan start-up private airline and new Cypriot start-up carrier, Cobalt Air. Fly One began operations from Chisinau as scheduled on 30th June, although the service, the FIA 711/2 was operated by a Ukraine International, Boeing 737-8FZ (WL), UR-PSM, rather than the two Airbus A320s, ER-AXJ and ER-AXO operated by the airline. The Chisinau – Dublin service is scheduled to operate twice weekly (on Thursdays and Sundays), until 29th October.
Cyprus-based airline Cobalt Air launched its new twice weekly direct scheduled service from Larnaca to Dublin on 9th July, with a little more fanfare. The inaugural service of the FCB 615/6, operated by Airbus A320-232, 5B-DCR, was welcomed to Dublin by Dublin Airport’s Managing Director Vincent Harrison and Cobalt’s Chief Executive Andrew Pyne.
Commenting at the launch, Mr. Harrison said that Cyprus had traditionally been a popular destination for Irish holidaymakers and Dublin Airport was delighted that Dublin-Larnaca is one of Cobalt’s first routes. He added that they looked forward to working closely with the airline to help promote this new service, which will he said, make it much easier for Irish consumers thinking about a summer break in Cyprus.
Mr. Pyne added that he was delighted to re-establish an air-link between the two islands of Cyprus and Ireland. He went on; “Cyprus historically hosted up to 70,000 Irish tourists annually, but with the lack of a direct air link these numbers dwindled to near zero. Cyprus has a lot to offer and similar to Ireland is keen to develop alternative touristic areas. Offering more than just fantastic weather and superb beaches, Cyprus is developing year-round activities, from skiing to wine tasting and from bird watching to swimming with the turtles; it has plenty to offer all age groups.”
While Cobalt is starting with a point-to-point service from Dublin to Larnaca, it already has plans to expand, according to Mr Pyne. “Our intention for the near future is to offer connections from Dublin via Larnaca to Israel and Lebanon and we look forward to offering a great Cypriot-style ‘Fáilte’ to our Irish customers.”
Cyprus is one of the Mediterranean’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting more than two million visitors annually. Dublin Airport has had charter services to Cyprus in the past, but this is the first direct scheduled service to the island.
Cobalt, which started operations on 1st June, is Cyprus’ first airline since the collapse of Cyprus Airways in January 2015. The new airline will operate its Dublin route on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9th July until 3rd September with a 180-seater Airbus A320 aircraft.
The flight times for the new service are as follows:
Depart Dublin 15.55, arriving Larnaca at 23.10,
Depart Larnaca at 11.35, arriving in Dublin at 15.10.
Last year Dublin Airport had a record year, with over 25 million passengers travelling through the airport. Dublin Airport has welcomed over 10.3 million passengers in the first five months of this year, representing a 15% increase, or an extra 1.3 million passengers so far this year.
Dublin Airport currently has direct flights to over 180 destinations in 40 countries on four continents.
New Self-Service check-in kiosks to improve passenger experience
Dublin Airport continues to invest in new facilities and services to enhance the passenger experience for all customers. It is currently investing €10 million to upgrade the arrivals area in Terminal 1 and has installed new automatic tray return systems at passenger screening, to help make this process more efficient, keeping security queue times down. It is also is investing €2 million in new self-service check-in kiosks to improve the passenger experience at the airport, for four of its major airline customers. It has installed 62 new self-service kiosks (SSKs) between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 that will allow the airport and its airline customers to process greater numbers of passengers by increasing the peak check-in capacity.
Passengers using the new self-service bag drop kiosks can, depending on the airline, check in for their flight, tag their own bag and dispatch it into the baggage system much faster than would be the case using traditional check-in desks.
The new SSKs are initially being used by Aer Lingus, Ryanair, CityJet and Flybe passengers, but several other airlines at Dublin Airport have already expressed interest in using the same technology.
Terminal 1 now has 15 self-service bag drop units available in check-in Area 13, which is the area used by Ryanair. There are three further self-service bag drop units in check-in Area 7 for common-use by other airlines. Passengers from CityJet and Flybe will be the first to enjoy the benefits of these SSKs. Terminal 2 has 44 new self-service units in the Aer Lingus check-in area.
“This €2 million investment streamlines and simplifies the baggage check-in process for passengers,” said Mr. Harrison. “It will reduce check-in queue times and also increase the overall capacity at check-in in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2,” he added.
Dublin Airport, working with its technology provider Rockwell Collins in conjunction with Pulse.aero, delivered a tailored process to suit each airline. “While we used the same technology in both terminals, it was adapted to specifically meet the needs of our airline customers,” Mr Harrison said. “The new self-service systems are already having a significant impact on check-in times at Dublin Airport,” he added.
“This project is one of a large number of investments that Dublin Airport is making across both terminals, at the boarding gates and on the airfield to add capacity and to continue to improve the passenger experience,” according to Mr Harrison. “The self-service kiosk and bag drop installation underlines our ongoing commitment to ensuring that passengers enjoy the very latest technological advances in their journey through Dublin Airport.”
The 15 new self-service units in T1 one use a one-step approach. This allows passengers that have checked in online to take their bags straight to the self-service bag drop, where they can print their bag tags, attach the tags and then dispatch the bag straight onto the baggage system.
In T2, there are now has 32 self-service kiosks and 12 self-service bag drop units in the Aer Lingus check-in area. Passengers first use their reference number to print a boarding card and/or weigh their bag and print a bag tag. Once tagged, the luggage can be taken to the self-service bag drop position and the bag is automatically dispatched.
The bag drop units in Terminal 2 are the world’s first touchless bag drops kiosks, as they automatically detect that the tag is attached, and the weight is correct and then dispatch the bag without the need for the passenger to touch any button or screen.
“Touchless bag drop means that passengers can drop their bag at a self-service machine that requires only minor user interaction, thus eliminating many of the steps they have to deal with when checking in,” said Chris Forrest, vice president of Airport Systems for Rockwell Collins.
To make the system as easy to use as possible for passengers the new kiosks are fitted with audio prompts for visually impaired passengers, and availability indicators so that passengers can immediately see which devices are free.
The new system has also been designed so that in the future there is the potential for passengers to be able to make payments at the kiosks for services such as additional bags fast track security and lounge access.
What Dublin Airport’s passengers are saying
On 5th July, Dublin Airport issued its latest ‘passenger storyboard’, which is filled with easy-to-read figures on how passengers rate their experience at Dublin Airport. As can be seen from the graphic, it gives a breakdown of passengers by gender, age group, reasons for travelling and where in Ireland or the world they originate. It also provides a full list of satisfaction indicators set by the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) and gives a simple pass or fail under each of these headings.
Essential Maintenance of Runway 10/28 leads to night time closure
Dublin Airport has apologised for any inconvenience caused by essential runway works carried out in early July, which may have led residents of certain Dublin suburbs to experience a temporary increase in aircraft movements. During the maintenance work, aircraft using Dublin Airport landed and took off on the north/east south/west runway 16/34. The flightpath used for this runway routes aircraft over locations such as Clonshaugh, Beaumont, Santry, Killester, Clontarf and the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown area.
The essential work on the main runway at Dublin Airport, which comprised grass cutting around the runway strip and essential maintenance, was vital for the safe operation of the airport and for operational reasons this work, had to be carried out at night.
The work, which was weather dependent, began on 5th July and continued from 23:00 to 04:45 each night until Saturday morning 16th July. No night work took place on either Saturday or Sunday nights.
Dublin Port to Dublin Airport fuel pipeline update
Just over a year ago on 7th July 2015, Fingal County Council granted permission for that part of the proposal to construct an 11-kilometre fuel pipeline from Dublin Port to Dublin Airport, estimated to cost some €20 million, located in its administrative area. The decision, ref F15A/0141, was subject to 15 conditions and no appeal was lodged for this application.
More recently on 26th April 2016, An Bord Pleanála (the planning appeals board) granted permission on appeal, subject to 33 conditions, for the part of this project in Dublin City Council’s administrative area, ref PL29N.245738. As part of this approval, the developers must prove they will take responsibility for any environmental or residential damage caused by the pipeline and are also due to submit a major accident prevention document to Dublin City Council prior to the commissioning of the pipeline which shall comply and be in accordance with the Dublin City Major Emergency Plan. There are also required to lodge a cash deposit, a bond of an insurance company or other security to secure environmental restoration in the event of a leak of the pipeline or in the event of the need for decommissioning.
The main shareholders in the project are Fingleton White and Reynolds Logistics, which currently transports by road tanker 60% of aviation fuel from the port to the airport. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Simon Coveney, has confirmed that the development and financing of this private project is a matter for the promoters and the State has no proposals to provide any funding towards it. The promotors however have said that there are a number of commercial issues with various stakeholders to be discussed before construction can start. However, a spokesperson has said that they “expect that commercial solutions will be reached.” Both permissions are for a period of 10 years.
Separately, proposals for alterations to the Fingal County Council planning permission (ref: F06A/1463 and F06A/1463/E1) were referred to An Bord Pleanála for determination if it was strategic infrastructure and would fall to be determined by An Bord Pleanála. On 24th May the Board considered the report of the inspector as well as the documents and submissions on file and determined that the proposed development does not comprise strategic infrastructure and a planning application should be made to Fingal County Council in the first instance.
For background on this project see here.
…. and finally, Dublin Airport welcomes Victoria’s Secret to Terminal 1
On 11th July, Dublin Airport announced that Victoria’s Secret, one of the world’s leading lingerie and beauty retailers, had joined an impressive selection of fashion, cosmetic, fragrance and accessory outlets available at The Loop in Terminal 1. The leading US brand, which up until now has operated its only Irish store in Terminal 2, Dublin Airport, has continued to grow in popularity with customers.
Welcoming the new store to Terminal 1, Michelle Corbett, Retail Marketing Manager for The Loop at Dublin Airport said: “Victoria’s Secret is a much loved brand and we are thrilled that passengers departing through Terminal 1 will now also get the chance to experience the beautiful range of products”.
Passengers visiting the 70 square metre store can expect to find a selection of the brand’s most sought-after beauty and cosmetic products, travel accessories and an assortment of scarves and underwear.
“The new outlet is a great addition to The Loop Terminal 1, enhancing the shopping experience and complementing the recently revamped shopping area” added Ms Corbett.