6. A Long-Term Vision to Frame Short Term Solutions
The development of airport infrastructure is expensive, and investment in large scale projects resulting in substantive increments of capacity, usually needs to be financed over long periods to make it affordable. This means that such projects at airports (e.g. a new runway, terminal or public transport connection) are designed over longer-term life cycles. For this reason, it is intended that the Dublin Airport Local Area Plan will include policy to guide development for the next six years (in line with the statutory duration of the Plan) but set within the context of a longer-term horizon.
Accordingly, consideration of a long-term vision for the airport to inform the short and medium-term objectives of the Airport Local Area Plan will form an important element of the process. The national imperatives underpinning current strategic policy supporting the continued development of Dublin Airport are robust and set out in Section 3 of this document. The challenge of the LAP is therefore to provide a clear set of specific policies which guide ‘how’ the airport should develop in the future.
Having regard to recent rates of passenger growth, it is expected that underlying demand may continue to rise over the next 10 and 25 years respectively. Moreover, with the National Aviation Plan encouraging the Development of Dublin’s secondary hub role as a bridge between Europe and North America, there is also potential that an increasing proportion of passengers will be interlining compared to the current 2-3%.
If passenger numbers grow, then this will also have implications for air transport movements and airport related surface access demands. Airfreight, Business Aviation Fixed Base Operations (FBOs) and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) of aircraft are also important parts of the airport’s business mix. In 2017 142,000 tonnes of air freight used Dublin and there are a number of substantial MRO and FBO facilities at the airport creating significant skilled employment. Accordingly, it is important to consider the role of Dublin Airport and its surrounding area as an important location for strategic inward investment sites for a combination of:
- airport related businesses;
- multi-national companies requiring regular access to overseas locations and;
- a combination of advanced producer service, tech industry or flagship multi-lateral public sector institutions.
Ryanair’s new HQ in Swords and the recent Government bid for the EU Medicines Agency for Dublin Airport Central are two recent examples. Hence, it is important that Fingal County Council take these broader potential demands, and the potential housing, transport and environmental pressures they may give rise to, into account alongside the core requirements needed to enable the airport to continue to function as Ireland’s premier international gateway. We are interested, therefore in understanding your long-term vision for the airport and any strategic objectives, land use compatibility or environmental considerations that will help to define it and provide a framework for the Local Area Plan.
- Do you agree with the need for a long-term vision to be developed for the airport and for the implications of a range of forecasts to be understood when preparing the Local Area Plan?
- What is your vision for the long, medium and short-term development of Dublin Airport?
- What strategic objectives, operational performance measures and environmental considerations do you consider to be the most important to be considered in the Airport LAP?
- Are there non-aviation related land uses or economic activities that you consider to be compatible with an airport location?