Airlines say they may look beyond Dublin Airport due to passenger cap uncertainty

Airlines Say They May Look Beyond Dublin Airport Due To Passenger Cap Uncertainty
Low-cost Spanish airline, Vueling, Jordi Pla Pintre is one of a number of airline executives to call on Fingal County Council to raise the current 32 million passenger per annum cap at Dublin airport to 40 million passengers per annum. Photo: PA
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Gordon Deegan

The lack of certainty over the passenger cap at Dublin Airport may compel carriers at one of the world’s largest airline groups to focus on other airports if a decision is delayed.

That is the warning from the director of low-cost Spanish airline Vueling, Jordi Pla Pintre, who is one of a number of airline executives to call on Fingal County Council to raise the current 32 million passenger per annum cap at Dublin airport to 40 million passengers per annum.


Vueling is part of the IAG Group that also owns Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia.

In a submission, Mr Pla Pintre, on behalf of Vueling, told the council that "retaining the existing cap of 32 mppa restricts airlines' ability to grow volumes into Dublin”.

He said: "The lack of certainty over the cap makes it challenging to forecast effectively and may compel IAG carriers to focus on other destinations or airports if a decision is delayed.

Mr Pla Pintre said "IAG cannot stress enough the urgency for Fingal County Council to make a decision to increase the passenger cap”.


"Delaying this decision poses significant economic risks to the Irish economy and an accelerated process where additional resources is deployed to review this application is essential.

"Fingal County Council should consider granting an immediate interim increase in the passenger cap at Dublin airport pending the consideration of the full planning application.”

Mr Pla Pintre said "an increased passenger cap to 40 mppa is essential for maintaining and developing global routes and connectivity to and from Dublin Airport”.

He said: "This increase would act as a catalyst, bolstering the viability of existing routes and fostering the establishment of new ones. Lifting the passenger numbers provides our business with the certainty needed to consider additional flights on existing routes and to explore establishing new routes into Dublin.”


In its submission, Emirates warned that “without the increase in passenger numbers to 40 million, it means we are unable to grow our business and may need to look at other destinations or airports as a more viable option".

The submission states that the increase in Dublin Airport's passenger capacity from 32 million to 40 million "is seen as crucial for the potential growth of Emirates services into Ireland. The new infrastructure will deliver additional aircraft stands and expansion of the aprons, which in turn allows greater efficiency at the airport”.

US carrier JetBlue is to launch its transatlantic services out of Dublin next month to JFK New York and Boston.  Its vice president of government and airport affairs, Jeffrey Goodell, told the council that raising the passenger cap "will enable JetBlue and other airlines to begin or grow our offerings in Dublin, resulting in a more competitive and diverse offering for consumers".

Hainan Airlines said it would resume flights between Beijing and Dublin in April.


Its representative said "the route will operate on Tuesday and Saturday. We would like to increase the frequency to four flights per week. We haven’t got the slot due to lack of infrastructure".

Director with Westjet, Jared Mikoch-Gerke, warned that without long term growth in sustainable infrastructure at Dublin Airport "it will be difficult to continue to add capacity and new routes into the market”.

Westjet operates services between Dublin and Canada. Mr Mikoch Gerke said Westjet is "expecting to fly approximately 84,000 seats from Dublin in 2024, compared to the 18,000 we operated in 2014”.

He said Dublin Airport "is already facing critical capacity constraints as was demonstrated by the DAA’s challenge and requirement to limit capacity growth in 2024 as a result of approaching their current passenger cap of 32 million passengers”.


HiSky Europe operates flights between Dublin and Romania and Moldova and its deputy chief executive, Victor Sula, told the council that both countries have the potential to use Dublin as a connecting hub for transatlantic flights.

He said: “However, the growth of our operations at Dublin have stopped due to limited capacity at the airport. Additional slots at better times are not available for a few years.”

The DAA airport expansion application is facing opposition from residents living in north Dublin. Fingal County Council is due to make a decision on the application next month.

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