The construction of Dublin Airport’s second runway has officially commenced. The new runway is 2.1 miles (3.2 km) long and is expected to be complete by 2021.
The Prime Minister of Ireland said “Dublin Airport is our main gateway to the world and is crucial for Irish tourism, business and trade. This new runway is part of the government’s €116 billion ($131 billion USD) Project Ireland 2040 plan to modernize our infrastructure, remove bottlenecks and enable future growth.”
According to the Dublin Airport, the airport capacity is already full and the new runway is “urgently needed.” Last year the airport welcomed over 31 million passengers. Shane Ross, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport said “[The] north runway will bring new airlines to Ireland and allow airlines that operate here already to expand their networks. This will open up new long-haul and short-haul market and provide a greater choice of routes and airlines.”
In fact, the route map of the airport will be expanded this year with new connections to North America, Ukraine, Shenzhen, China.
The new north runway was first planned in the 1960s, when the airport proposed two runways with parallel north and south runways. The south runway was opened in 1989. The north runway scheme was approved a decade ago but was put on hold in 2007 due to a decrease in number of passenger numbers at the time and a recession.
The north runway is just one part of a larger expansion at the airport. The Airport Authority said the airport plans to spend €900 million ($1 billion) on new piers and aircraft stands. Dublin Airport will be able to handle 40 million passengers annually after the expansion.
Earlier, Dalton Philips, the Chief Executive of DAA said: “We are constrained and we rapidly need this infrastructure and we need it now.” The airport believes the expansion is needed to compete with other airports in Britain and Europe. In addition, a new air traffic control tower is currently under construction at the airport. The 285 foot (86.9 meters) tower will become the tallest structure in the country.