Dublin Airport (IATA: DUB) (Irish: Aerfort Bhaile Átha Cliath), is an airport in Collinstown, in the Fingal part of County Dublin. An estimated 20.5 million passengers passed through the aiport in 2009. The Dublin Airport Authority operates the airport.
Dublin Airport is the busiest airport on the island of Ireland (followed by Belfast International Airport and the Cork Airport and Shannon Airport. The airport is located 5.4 NM (10.0 km; 6.2 mi) north of Dublin City in a once-rural area near Swords, and is served by buses and taxis. Metro North, a rapid transit line in development, will connect the airport to Swords and Dublin city centre.
Dublin Airport is the headquarters of Ireland's flag carrier Aer Lingus; Europe's largest no-frills airline, Ryanair; and Ireland's domestic regional airline Aer Arann. Ireland's third airline, CityJet, is based in the nearby town of Swords.
The airport has an extensive short and medium haul network, served by an array of carriers. Domestic services are offered to most regional Irish airports. There are approximately 50 daily departures from Dublin to all five London airports (Stansted, Luton, Gatwick, Heathrow and London City), The Dublin-London route is the second-busiest route in the world after the Hong Kong-Taipei route. There are over 30 daily departures to other UK Airports. There is also a reasonably sized long-haul network. Aer Lingus serves many popular destinations in the United States, and has been able to add more thanks to the open skies deal. U.S. legacy carriers also serve the airport from major U.S. hubs. Etihad Airways operates a daily service between the airport and Abu Dhabi.
United States border preclearance services are available at the airport for U.S.-bound passengers, Dublin being one of only two European airports with this facility (the other is Shannon).
The beginnings in the 1930s and early 1940s:
In 1936 the Government of Ireland established a new civil airline, Aer Lingus, which began operating from the military aerodrome, Casement Aerodrome, at Baldonnel to the south of Dublin. However, the decision was made that a civil airport should replace Baldonnel as the city's airport. Collinstown, to the north of Dublin, was selected as the location for the new civil aerodrome. Collinstown's first association with aviation was as a British military air base during World War I, but had been unused since 1922. Construction of the new airport began in 1937. By the end of 1939 a grass airfield surface, internal roads, car parks and electrical power and lighting were set up. The inaugural flight from Dublin took place on 19 January 1940 to Liverpool. In 1940 work began on a new airport terminal building. The terminal building design was by the architect Desmond FitzGerald, brother of politician Garret FitzGerald. It opened in early 1941, with its design being heavily influenced by the bridges of the luxury ocean liners of the time. It was also awarded the Triennial Gold Medal of the Royal Hibernian Institute of Architects and is today a listed building. Upon the outbreak of World War II, services were severely restricted at Dublin Airport until late 1945 and the only international scheduled route operated during this time was by Aer Lingus to Liverpool (and for a period to Manchester's Barton Aerodrome). Three new concrete runways were completed by 1947.
Expanding in the 1950s:
Throughout the 1950s Dublin Airport expanded with virtually uninterrupted traffic growth. Runway extensions and terminal enhancements were carried out to deal with the influx of traffic and passengers. New airlines began serving the airport also. These included British European Airways, Sabena and BKS. In 1958 a new transatlantic service was started by Aer Lingus via Shannon Airport. During the 1960s the number of scheduled carriers continued to grow and aircraft continued to evolve with technological advancement. By the close of the 1960s, a sizeable number of Boeing 737s, BAC One-Elevens, Boeing 707s, and Hawker Siddeley Tridents were using Dublin Airport on a regular basis. During 1969, 1,737,151 passengers travelled through Dublin Airport.
The advent of wide-body aircraft posed opportunities and challenges for aviation. In 1971 Aer Lingus took delivery of two new Boeing 747 aircraft (a third Boeing 747 was delivered later that decade). To cope with this, a new passenger terminal capable of handling five million passengers per year was opened in 1972. The growth which was anticipated at the airport (and provided for through heavy investment by the airport and Aer Lingus) during the 1970s did not materialise immediately.
Two of the airport's largest operators side-by-side, a Ryanair BAC 1-11 and an Aer Lingus Boeing 737 in 1993.
Continuing in the 1980s:
In 1983 Aer Lingus opened its 'Aer Lingus Commuter' division which took delivery of Shorts, Saab, and Fokker turboprop aircraft to open regular daily domestic services to and from Ireland's smaller regional airports for the first time, as well as to serve existing routes to smaller regional airports in the United Kingdom. At various stages of its operations, flights were operated to several Irish regional airports to feed passengers into Aer Lingus's international network. These domestic destinations included Cork Airport, Shannon Airport, Kerry Airport, Galway Airport, Ireland West Airport Knock, Waterford Airport, Sligo Airport, and City of Derry Airport. Aer Lingus Commuter has since been re-absorbed into the main company. The domestic routes, with the exception of Dublin-Shannon, have been taken over by Aer Arann, including the route to Derry. Aer Lingus has continued with the remaining Dublin-UK flights.
During the 1980s, major competition, especially on the Dublin-London routes, resulted in passenger numbers swelling to 5.1 million in 1989. In the same year a new 8,650 ft (2,640 m) runway and a state-of-the-art air traffic control centre were opened. Dublin Airport continued to expand rapidly in the 1990s. Pier A, which had been the first extension to the old terminal building, was significantly extended. A new Pier C, complete with air bridges, was built and as soon as this was completed, work commenced to extend it to double its capacity. The ground floor of the original terminal building, which is today a listed building, was returned to passenger service after many years to provide additional departure gates. Pier D, completed in October 2007, is a dedicated low-fares boarding area and provides 14 quick turn-around stands and departure gates; these are not served by air bridges.
The Bilateral Air Transport Agreement:
In 1993, a major milestone for the airport was the signing of a new United States - Republic of Ireland bilateral agreement which allowed airlines to operate some direct transatlantic services for the first time to/from Dublin Airport instead of touching down en route at Shannon Airport on the west coast of Ireland (Shannon had once been a major transatlantic refuelling stop for pre-jet aircraft, and this agreement was designed to protect the interests of the Shannon region when modern jets no longer required a refuelling stop and Shannon saw a fall-off in traffic). Airlines still had to provide an equal number of flights either to or through Shannon as to Dublin. A gradual further watering down of Shannon's so-called 'stopover' status came into effect in November 2006 when more direct flights to Dublin were allowed. The stopover requirement disappears completely in 2008. At that time, airlines will be allowed to fly direct to the US from Dublin without having to match these with any to/from Shannon. It is expected that this will result in a huge increase in services between Dublin and the US, and Aer Lingus has identified 16 destinations that it would like to serve direct from Dublin.
With the success of Ireland's 'Celtic Tiger' economy, Dublin Airport has seen growth in the 1990s and 2000s. This demand has been driven by an increased demand for business travel to and from the country, together with an increase in inward tourism, and a surge in demand for foreign holidays and city breaks from the Irish, who are now one of the wealthiest populations in the world. In January 2006, the number of trips abroad taken by the Irish outnumbered the number of inbound trips for the first time since records began. Christmas shopping weekends in New York City have increased in popularity (although London is still the top destination from Dublin). A further source of demand has been for flights to holiday homes and investment properties which have been snapped up by the property-hungry Irish across southern European holiday hotspots, the emerging economies of Eastern Europe, and beyond.
Finally, the demand from Ireland's migrant workers, principally those from Eastern Europe, has resulted in a large number of new routes opening to destinations in the European Union accession states. Ireland was one of only three European Union countries (as well as the United Kingdom and Sweden) to open its borders freely to workers from the ten accession states that joined the European Union in 2004. This resulted in hundreds of thousands of people moving to Ireland from these countries since then.
The airport has seen significant declines in traffic in 2009 and 2010.
The DAA (Dublin Airport Authority) has ambitious long-haul expansion plans and has successfully added new routes to North America and the Middle East in recent years. It has yet to secure a direct route to East Asia. Like most airports, the effects of the September 11, 2001 attacks affected transatlantic traffic but this has since recovered to record levels.
In 2005 Gulf Air launched a direct route to Bahrain in the Middle East. This was followed by Aer Lingus's service to Dubai in March 2006, and Etihad Airways service to Abu Dhabi in July 2007. Despite reportedly high loads, the Gulf Air service to Bahrain was cancelled in July 2007 as part of a broad restructuring plan of the airline. This move prompted Etihad Airways to bring forward the start date of its Abu Dhabi service by a number of months, and Etihad's Dublin route has proved to be a success with further frequencies planned. The DAA announced as far back as the late 1990s that it would like to add a route to East Asia, however this has yet to materialise and Aer Lingus's poorly performing route to Dubai was dropped at the end of March 2008., however the introduction of services to Asia remains part of Aer Lingus' long term plans. Etihad Airways are currently the only airline to offer a direct service to the Gulf area from Dublin, with onward connections to the Far East and Australia.
In February 2010, United Arab Emirates airline Etihad Airways announced an increase in services to Dublin from Abu Dhabi which means that from 28 March 2010 twice-daily flights will be available on Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays with a once-daily service on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The airline is also to build a new lounge at Dublin's new T2 (Terminal 2) which is on schedule to open from November 2010.
In September 2010, US Airways announced that it will commence daily direct services from Dublin to Charlotte in North Carolina from May 2011. It will be a summer seasonal route running until September.
Open Skies and the Shannon Stopover:
In the mid twentieth century, the Irish government introduced a rule stating that all air traffic between Ireland and the United States must transit through Shannon airport. In return, the United States government placed a limit of four airports in the U.S. that Aer Lingus could operate to. On 22 March 2007, the Open Skies agreement between the U.S. and EU was ratified. This resulted in the immediate cancellation of the long-running 'Shannon Stopover' requirement whereby the Irish government insisted that 50% of all transatlantic flights between Ireland and the United States must pass through Shannon Airport.
US border preclearance:
Dublin Airport is one of only two airports outside of North America with United States border preclearance services for U.S.-bound passengers (the other being Shannon Airport). It allows passengers to have their paperwork dealt with before departure saving time upon arrival in the United States. However, due to congestion there are numerous flights that do not use this facility. Customs and Department of Agriculture checks will be available in the new terminal, meaning flights will not have to land in international terminals on arrival in the U.S., as all checks will have been completed.
Aer Rianta and Dublin Airport Authority:
In October 2004, Aer Rianta (which means 'Air Ways' or 'Air Tracks' in Irish) was renamed as the Dublin Airport Authority plc, following the State Airports Act 2004. All assets and liabilities previously owned by Aer Rianta were transferred to Dublin Airport Authority. The State Airports Act 2004 also established new airport authorities at Shannon and Cork Airports. The Shannon Airport Authority plc and the Cork Airport Authority have separate boards of directors and have been authorised under the Act to prepare business plans, which may in time lead to their full separation from the Dublin Airport Authority.
As the largest gateway to Ireland, over 21.1 million passengers travelled through the airport in 2006, a 2.7 million (or 15%) increase over 2005. The main contributors to the growth in traffic in 2005 were the airport's routes to continental Europe (particularly Poland and the Baltic region), North America, and the Middle East. Domestic and UK traffic had showed a small decline in 2005, but grew by 25% and 4% respectively in 2006. The decline in 2005 was due to a reduction in connecting traffic between Ireland's regional airports and the UK. This was as a result of a growing direct network of routes between those airports and the UK and continental Europe, dispensing with the need to transit at Dublin. But the organic demand at Dublin resulted in a net increase in those markets in 2006. Dublin Airport also welcomes over one million passengers per annum from across the border in Northern Ireland, whose largest airport is less than a quarter the size of Dublin in terms of passenger numbers.
Terminal 1 originally opened in 1972, and was initially designed to handle five million passengers a year. The original design included a second pier which would have been identical to what is now Pier B but this was never built. A car park was originally located on the upper floor of the building, and the access ramps are still in place but it has been closed for many years. In the early 1990s, the terminal underwent redevelopment with both Pier A (which had been an extension to the old terminal building) and Pier B being upgraded. Pier C was completed in 1999. Pier C has now closed due to the construction of Terminal 2 in its place. The entire terminal was then redesigned and extended again, and this was completed in 2004. In 2006, check-in Area 14 opened in the basement area of Terminal 1, and is used exclusively for Aer Lingus flights to the UK and Germany. In October 2007, Pier D was completed. Pier D has been designed with low-cost airlines such as Ryanair in mind and therefore does not feature any air bridges. Pier D was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, who also performed environmental graphics services. In 2009, another new extension featuring new food and retail outlets was added to the side of Terminal 1. All long-haul flights are expected to move to Terminal 2 in late 2010. Since June 2009 the terminal is designated with signs as Terminal 1 to avoid passenger confusion; Aer Lingus have also updated their website from Main to Terminal 1. On June 25, 2010, It was announced that over three stages all transatlantic flights and Aer Lingus flights including Aer Lingus Regional would move to Terminal 2 from November 2010.
Terminal 2 is a new 75,000 m2 (810,000 sq ft) terminal and pier (pier E) which provides 19 air bridges for aircraft and is capable of handling 15 million passengers annually, thereby allowing the airport to handle 35 million passengers a year. The total cost of the overall project is put at €600 million. Another pier (Pier F) is planned to be built to the south of Terminal 2 when required. The majority of long-haul carriers will move to Terminal 2, including Aer Lingus, which will relocate all its operations, both long- and short-haul, to the terminal. Terminal 2 also features a new US pre-clearance immigration facility. Construction of Terminal 2 began on 1 October 2007, and is now complete.
Terminal 2 was officially opened on November 19th 2010. and airlines that will use the new terminal plan to transfer their operations in phases throughout November. Aer Lin-gus has decided to postpone the transfer of their transatlantic flights to Terminal 2 until the new year. The United States immigration pre-clearance facility opening has been delayed until January 2011 with the result that US Airways, Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines won't transfer to Terminal 2 until early 2011.
Aer Lingus, Ryanair, CityJet, Eirtech and Dublin Aerospace have aircraft maintenance hangars and facilities at Dublin Airport. In 2010 Etihad Airways announced a new maintenance hangar which will handle the Airbus A330-200 which the airline uses on their route from Dublin. In time the airline will allow other airlines to use this facility.
The airport has the headquarters of Aer Lingus and Ryanair. The Dublin Airport Authority has its head office on the grounds of the airport.
Due to the growth experienced at Dublin Airport in recent years, the facility became congested. One part or another of the airport has been a building site for the past two decades. Despite the building works and extensions, it is widely accepted by the DAA that Terminal 1 and its infrastructure were insufficient to deal with the volume of passengers. Both the Irish Government and the DAA have come under pressure from airlines and passengers alike to once-and-for-all provide a realistic increase in capacity for the future. As a result, the DAA plan to invest €2 billion in a 10-year capital development programme to effectively double the size of the passenger facilities of Dublin Airport.
The plans for Terminal 2 have been met with ongoing criticism from those who argued that, once built, it could not be extended to provide any additional capacity, owing to its location. A third terminal, which is in the blueprint for the future of the airport, would most likely be located between the parallel runways.
The greatest objections continue to come from Ryanair. The no-frills carrier has long lobbied for Terminal 2 to be built as a low-cost facility, and run by a competing operator. They have even offered to build and operate such a facility. However, the Irish government decided that the DAA would build T2 and that its operation would be put out to tender. In March 2010 it was decided that T2 would be operated by the DAA as the other applicants did not meet the requirements for operating the terminal.
New air traffic control complex
Planning is currently underway for a new air traffic control complex and control tower which will replace the existing structure. The new facility has been designed by Scott Tallon Walker architects. A planning application was submitted in August 2009. The new control tower will be 86.9 m (285 ft) in height. The new control tower is necessary because the construction of the future parallel runway will obstruct visibility of certain parts of the airport from the existing control tower.
A new runway measuring 3,110 m (10,203 ft) is planned to be built parallel to the existing runway 10/28, which opened in 1989. Detailed proposals and planning permission were submitted to Fingal County Council (under whose jurisdiction Dublin Airport lies) and approved in April 2006. An appeal to An Bord Pleanála (The Irish Planning Appeals Board), which determines appeals and other cases under the national planning acts, was heard in September 2006, and this resulted in the granting of permission in August 2007, with 31 planning conditions attached.
The new runway will replace runway 11/29 (which is no longer in use as a runway, and is used for aircraft parking) and will be built 1,690 m (5,545 ft) to the north of and parallel to the existing runway 10/28. The new runway will allow the airport to accommodate 30 million passengers per annum once in operation, and will be 3,110 m (10,203 ft) long. In March 2009 the DAA announced in a proposal for consultation that the new runway may be built to a length of 3,660 m (12,008 ft) following consultation with potential long-haul carriers. A runway of this length would allow direct flights from Dublin to the Far East.
In the meantime, the Authority has invested heavily in extending aprons and creating rapid exit taxiways to derive maximum efficiency from the existing main runway. Runway 11/29, the shortest and one of the oldest runways, is closed to allow overspill aircraft parking. This runway will disappear under the new parallel runway in due course.
However, in December 2008, the Dublin Airport Authority announced that it would postpone the construction of the new parallel runway by three to four years, on account of the need to cut costs and predictions of falling consumer demand for air travel. This is a result of the recent global financial crisis.
Dublin Airport is located just off the M1 and the M50 10 km (6.2 mi) north from the city centre and 2 km (1.2 mi) south of the town of Swords.
Until the Metro North rail link to Dublin city centre is completed, the public transport options to the city are taxis, buses, and private transport. Passengers can however con-nect by bus or taxi to Dublin's railway stations.
Dublin Airport is served by a large network of bus and coach routes, serving both the wider Dublin area and intercity links to the rest of Ireland.
Dublin Bus is the main provider of transport to and from Dublin Airport operating Airlink Express routes 747 and 748 which serve Busáras (Dublin's central bus station for intercity and regional bus services), Dublin Connolly railway station and Dublin Heuston railway station along with the city centre.
In addition to the limited stop Airlink services, Dublin Bus runs a number of local stopping services that serve Dublin Airport from such areas as Santry, Swords, Rathfarnham, Sutton and Portmarnock.
Aircoach offers a number of coach services from the Airport to the Dublin area, serving both the city center and surrounding areas including Ballsbridge, Leopardstown, Dalkey, Greystones. Blackrock and Dun Laoghaire amongst others.
Urbus provides a service from Swords, Tyrrelstown, Castleknock and Blanchardstown whilst Flybus operates a service from Tallaght and Clondalkin.
National bus and coach operator Bus Eireann offers a large number of routes from Dublin Airport to all around Ireland including key destinations such as Belfast, Galway, Wexford. Sligo, Donegal, Drogheda, Navan and Wicklow.
A number of private operators also run intercity services with Aircoach offering a service to Cork, Citylink and Gobus offer services to Galway whilst JJ Kavanagh operate regular services to Limerick, Kilkenny and Waterford.
Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) provide suburban and intercity railway services from Dublin Connolly and Dublin Heuston railway stations. There are direct regular bus services to both stations from the airport. Some city bus services serve Drumcondra suburban railway station, which is on the Connolly to Maynooth railway line. Bus services to Busáras/Dublin Connolly and Dublin Heuston railway stations connect with the Luas Red Line.
Plans for rail link
For many years, it was expected that Iarnród Éireann, the state railway company, would extend the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) with a spur off the Dublin to Belfast line that would serve the airport and Swords. These plans were replaced with plans for an underground metro line, which would run from the city centre to Swords via the airport. The route for the line, Metro North, was announced on 19 October 2006 and is designed to connect with several other modes of transport.
There will be three stops in Dublin's city centre, allowing transfers to both Luas lines, and the proposed DART Underground. Another transfer will be possible at Drumcondra. Beyond the airport, Metro North will continue to Swords, where many airport workers live. There will be a number of park and ride stops along the route. Journey time between the airport and St Stephen's Green will be 18 minutes.
Dublin Airport City:
The Dublin Airport Authority has recently announced plans for an ambitious development of the Dublin Airport area and surrounding environs. This ambitious project will develop a 350-acre (1.4 km2) land reserve situated to the east of Dublin Airport and will cost in the region of €4 billion. Of this 350 acres (1.4 km2), 90% is already owned by the Dublin Airport Authority, and they are confident that they will be able to purchase the remaining pockets. The development will be mainly high rise, and will be expected to be completed by 2028. There will be 600,000 m2 (6,500,000 sq ft) of office space along with 40,000 m2 (430,000 sq ft) of retail, hotel and conference facilities. It is expected that the journey time from office to airport will be in the region of 6 minutes.