Dublin Airport: growth halts; the passenger cap does not fit

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Twice in the past five years Dublin Airport has bumped up against its planning limit of 32 million annual passengers: in 2019 and in 2023.

The most important airport in a country that depends on aviation is now turning away demand from airlines for growth.

According to Ryanair, Dublin's biggest operator, "Ireland is now closed for business due to this artificial traffic cap". Aer Lingus, the airport's number two, has called the limit "no longer fit for purpose".

Kenny Jacobs, CEO of DAA, the airport's owner, warns: "Ireland will lose out to other uncapped hub airports, with potential new jobs and new connectivity being lost."

Dublin Airport has applied to Fingal County Council, the local planning authority, to increase the cap to 40 million passengers, and for some new infrastructure. So far, this has only resulted in a request for more information.

With traffic already at the 32 million limit and forecast to reach 40 million by 2030, it seems surprising that an application was not made much earlier.

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