Ryanair lodges objection against €200m runway tunnel at Dublin airport

Ryanair Lodges Objection Against €200M Runway Tunnel At Dublin Airport
DAA's Kevin Cullinane said the underpass is required to improve access and safety on the airfield, which is restricted following the opening of the new North Runway (above) in August.
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Gordon Deegan

Ryanair has lodged an objection to plans by Dublin airport operator, DAA to construct a €200 million tunnel under the runway at the airport.

The airport operator lodged the plans last month with a DAA planning report stating that the underpass "will provide a short, quick and safe access" from the Eastern Campus to the Western Campus of the airport "that will avoid interfaces with operating runways and taxiways".


The 700-metre-long tunnel will involve two lanes and extend to 1.1km in length from "top of ramp to top of ramp".

The tunnel project - if granted planning permission - will take three years to construct.


However, on behalf of Ryanair, Ray Ryan of BMA Planning has told Fingal County Council that "if the current underpass project is allowed to proceed, it will contribute towards an excessively high per passenger price cap and damage the recovery of Irish aviation, which depends on the cost competitiveness of Dublin airport".

Mr Ryan points out that Ryanair is the largest airline using Dublin and therefore has a vested interest in all proposals which affect operations at the airport. He states that Ryanair "is concerned that these proposals will lead to considerable disruption to airport activities during the construction phase and that whether alternatives have been adequately addressed".


On the airline’s "grounds of objection", Mr Ryan argues that the business case for the spending of over €200 million on this project has not been made.

Mr Ryan contends that "these costs will be passed to the airlines and ultimately the consumer reducing the cost competitiveness of Dublin airport and connectivity as airlines will likely move capacity elsewhere to cheaper alternative airports".

The DAA application states that the airport operations are primarily concentrated on the Eastern Campus and access to the West Apron has become more difficult with the new North Runway, which became operational in August as the only access route now to the Western Campus or Apron is the northern perimeter road.

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The documents state: "The Irish Aviation Authority requires on safety grounds that an alternative solution be put in place as soon as possible."


However, Mr Ryan states that Ryanair believes "that such an underpass is unnecessary because vehicular access between the east and west aprons of the airport is possible to achieve at surface levels if Runway 16/34 is closed intermittently to allow vehicular access as necessary but Runway 16/34 retained for cross-wind landings."

Group Head of Communications with DAA, Kevin Cullinane said on Wednesday: "The underpass is required to improve access and safety on the airfield, allowing for the segregation of aircraft and vehicles, and the safe movement of vehicles to the West Apron, which is restricted following the opening of the new North Runway on August 24th, 2022."

A decision is due on the application later this month.

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