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Western businesses call for greater use of regional airports before passenger cap rises in capital – The Irish Times PiPa News

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Western businesses call for greater use of regional airports before passenger cap rises in capital – The Irish Times

Businesses in the West of Ireland are calling for greater use of the region’s airports ahead of an increase in Dublin’s passenger cap.

In its submission to planning officers about the DAA’s plans to raise the current limit from 32 million to 40 million annual passengers in the capital, Limerick Chamber said the policy should focus on alternative locations.

“The State needs to support underutilized state-owned airports to grow and fully achieve their potential in terms of increasing passenger numbers at Dublin Airport,” said the organization representing more than of 400 businesses in the Midwest ranging from local hospitality companies to large multinational corporations.

It pointed to “significant unused capacity” within the region’s state-owned airports, which could relieve pressure on Dublin and the infrastructure surrounding it.

“Dublin Airport currently serves around 85 percent of the country’s airport traffic and this is disproportionately in line with the population distribution across the country,” it said, adding that passengers were “forced” to use the Dublin though closer, regional airports. potentially available.

Several objections to the proposed increase in passenger numbers at Dublin Airport have been lodged with the planning authorities, although representatives of the world’s airlines and businesses have expressed strong support.

Monday is the deadline for observations of the detailed infrastructure development plans outlined by the airport management, including efforts to increase the annual number of passengers.

That ambition has sparked particular concern in surrounding communities, already troubled by aircraft noise and health concerns. For many, a 25 percent increase in passenger numbers would be a step too far, putting economic considerations ahead of community ones.

“We are an island that needs strong transport links,” said Ailbhe Finegan, a resident of Clongriffin in north county Dublin who is among those “strongly opposed” to the plans by DAA, the airport operator. .

“We are also an island where children live and must sleep and play. It is not possible to fly the proposed number of passengers from a Dublin airport without making many of the surrounding areas uninhabitable.

There were almost 200 submissions on Monday morning, as the window for public submissions to Fingal County Council nears its deadline.

While the planning application is complex, including a wide variety of development objectives, it is the proposed increase in passenger numbers and associated flight activity that has captured the public’s attention.

Nearby Ballyboughal Community Council, which was hit by controversial runways last year following the opening of the new North Runway, objected to more than 7,000 pages of accompanying technical information. , with insufficient time given to the public to process it.

“There is a serious lack of public consultation without clinics or leaflet drops explaining a large amount of technical material,” said its spokesman David Walton in the nearly 50-page submission.

Mr Walton said the current high level of flights coming into the country via the Dublin hub “places an unfair burden on the residents of Fingal to absorb all the hardships including the pollution of noise, air pollution and the known negative medical effects of excessive exposure to aircraft. noise, as well as overhead traffic congestion”.

Concerns raised in many submissions include noise and air pollution, traffic, the lack of development of Metro North to transport passengers to and from the facility and the belief that it is not supported by planning policy.

Joe Newman, an independent councilor in the sprawling suburb of Swords, said the increase in flights would put pressure on the greenbelt in the area adjacent to the Ridgewood housing estate, which could have a “devastating effect” on health of the residents.

“Cook’s Road residents have evacuated the area due to noise from the north runway,” he wrote.

Green Party MEP Ciaran Cuffe said the move would see an unacceptable increase in greenhouse emissions.

“During a climate emergency it is an act of folly to propose expanding airport passenger numbers by 25 percent,” he submitted.

“The applicant has failed to demonstrate that the proposal represents sustainable development or protects public health.”

However, there is strong support from many organizations. The trade-orientated Ireland-US Council said it was “very encouraged” by the growth in air traffic between Ireland and American cities.

“It also has the added advantage of bringing more people to Ireland for business and holidays – people who wouldn’t otherwise come here,” it said.

Airlines For America, the industry body, said the cap increase was necessary for continued growth in demand for US-Ireland services.

It says that the number of passengers traveling between the two countries will grow by 76 percent between 2013 and 2023, or at an average annual growth rate of 5.8 percent.

“The US and other carriers operating routes between the United States and Ireland will not be able to meet this increase in demand unless Fingal County Council raises the current cap.”

DAA’s comprehensive plans also include the construction of new pier buildings, a remote plane apron, and the provision of hundreds of new car parking spaces.

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