Baffled by the Aer Rianta Plan

LET’S get this right. The plan is to split up Aer Rianta in to separate companies for Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports. Then they will be in competition with each other and we’ll all be better off. That’s the argument.

Except that the plan is not being implemented for the benefit of Dublin Airport. In fact, all the debt of Aer Rianta is to be transferred to Dublin Airport and Cork and Shannon will have their slates wiped clean.

Great.

The New Dublin Airport Authority will have nearly €500 of debt hanging over it at a time when it badly needs more investment. Who is going to pay off all this debt? That’s right, the passengers who use Dublin Airport.

But there is also other dark clouds gathering. Michael O’Leary, among others, is gung-ho for a new low-cost terminal. It looks as if it going to happen. It also looks as if it will be privately owned.

This new terminal is going to have a massive advantage if it doesn’t have any of the new Dublin Airport dept to pay back.

Senator Mary O’Rourke smells a rat. She thinks that the breakup of Aer Rianta is for the benefit of those who don’t like Aer Rianta. Now, who could she be talking about there?

The bottom line is this: the break-up of Aer Rianta makes no sense without a decision on a second terminal. The new Authority will be planning in the dark. They don’t know if half their passengers will decamp across the runway to a new yellow-pack terminal.

Given that Dublin Airport is of such importance to the city and region all you can say is that this is a balls up.

In the meantime Seamus Brennan is pressing on with a proposed metro link to the airport. Again I ask: how can you plan a metro route when the location of a second terminal has not been decided? Beats me.

The break-up of Aer Rianta is going to happen. Ok. But once the new board is in place it will be time to get everyone together and come up with a common sense future for Dublin Airport.

Open up Casement and Gormanstown

RATHER than two unhappy campers sharing the one bed, wouldn’t it make some sense if Ryanair took itself off to a different premises.

There are two possibilities. One is on the Southside at Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnell. This is an ideal place for a second airport for Dublin. It is sandwiched between the busiest motorway and the busiest railway in the country. It has a huge catchment area. And despite comments about the runway alignment shattering the peace of south Dublin any decision to open up the facility could surely accommodate a new runway.

The second option is to open up the other Aer Corps airport at Gormanstown. Again, ideally sited between a motorway and a railway, it also has the advantage of the runway being up against the sea. That would cut down on complaints.

I heard it was going to be sold and I haven’t heard anything since. Could we be so stupid?