Airports

Published on July 3rd, 2022 | by Mark Dwyer

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daa Group Posts Loss of €103m for 2021

daa Group, operator of Dublin and Cork Airports, recorded a loss before exceptional items of €103 million in 2021 due to the ongoing impact of the global pandemic on its domestic and international businesses, bringing total pandemic-related losses in 2020 and 2021 to €387 million. Turnover was €324 million in the year, an increase of 11% on 2020, driven mainly by retail revenues.

While passenger numbers at Dublin and Cork increased to 8.7 million in 2021, from a record low of 7.9 million in 2020, these numbers represented a decrease of 75% compared with the 35.5 million it served in 2019 before the onset of the pandemic.

Throughout 2021, Dublin and Cork airports continued to play a critical role in facilitating the repatriation of passengers, the import and export of essential medical supplies and goods, and vital medical emergency and search and rescue missions. In common with other employers, the Group availed of payroll-related COVID supports. In 2021 these amounted to €39 million compared with €34 million in 2020.

The daa Group invested €163 million in infrastructure projects during 2021. Almost 68% of the 2021 capex spend at the airports was accounted for by three projects:

  • the construction of North Runway at Dublin Airport, which will open for commercial operations in August,
  • major investment in Hold Baggage Screening systems at Irish airports, and
  • the high intensity and on-time reconstruction of the main runway at Cork Airport.

It also progressed the design for future apron and taxiway works at Dublin Airport.

Commenting, Dalton Philips, daa Chief Executive Officer, said: “Despite over 1,000 employees leaving the business through a combination of a voluntary severance scheme, career breaks, staff attrition and the non-backfill of roles at the height of the pandemic and other major cost-cutting efforts, daa has reported COVID-related losses of over €387 million over the past 2 years. As a result, Dublin Airport entered 2022 with significantly diminished staffing capacity, some months ahead of the steepest rise in air travel in its history. Despite the Herculean efforts of daa employees, this capacity and timing mismatch has had a regrettable impact on service delivery and quality that is being addressed at pace but will likely result in strained operations through the coming busy, summer months.

“Though Dublin Airport expects to have doubled its security screening staff to 920 staff over the coming weeks, challenges remain. Peak volumes after two years of domestic vacationing, alongside staffing challenges facing the airlines and other airport partners that operate at Dublin Airport across check-in, baggage handling, and retail and hospitality services, are impacting customer experience, something daa is working hard to address in collaboration with our aviation partners and airlines.

“We continue to add new security officers, open more security lanes, improve our queue management systems, deploy triage when appropriate, and draw on our company-wide Taskforce to minimise queues and improve our passengers’ experience. As a result, queue wait times through Dublin Airport security screening are now sub 45 minutes for most passengers, but vulnerabilities remain. We are working hard to avoid the types of restrictive measures introduced in many international airports over recent weeks, albeit risks remain, and we continue to monitor developments on an hourly basis.

“We will continue to provide passenger and stakeholder updates via our website and social media. In the interim, we wish to thank our passengers for their forbearance and our staff for their enormous commitment and resilience over recent months and indeed over the past two years,” Mr. Philips added.

Current Year (2022) Update

Current (June/July) passenger numbers through Dublin Airport are set to exceed 2019 levels. Year-to-date passenger numbers through Dublin and Cork airports are up +1,085% and +2,399% respectively on 2021.

Passenger Numbers2022202120192022 v 20192022 v 2021
Dublin Airport11,426,837964,62614,879,502-23%+1,085%
Cork Airport879,29035,1901,147,606-23%+2,399%

Group Priorities And Outlook

Following the most challenging period in the history of commercial aviation, daa’s near-term priorities are:

  • to mitigate further passenger disruption whilst rebuilding its networks out of Dublin and Cork airports,
  • to grow sustainably – with an ultimate target for Dublin and Cork airports of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest,
  • to expand its international businesses through ARI and daa International,
  • to restore pride in daa as the standard-bearer for airport-related services, and
  • to progress plans for a €2 billion capital expenditure programme to drive growth and connectivity

The full annual report is available to read here.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.



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