DAA Outlines Irish Transatlantic Capacity Boost

Next summer will see a major increase in capacity on US-Irish air services with new and expanded transatlantic services at Dublin and Shannon airports delivering almost 270,000 extra seats between Republic of Ireland and the United States next summer, a 20 per cent increase on this year.

“This is a very significant expansion of air capacity between the US and Ireland, and represents a major vote of confidence in the Irish market,” said Vincent Harrison, Strategy Director, Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).  “Next year we will have new routes from American Airlines, United and US Airways and also additional capacity on existing services from Aer Lingus and US Airways.”

The new routes and expansions that have already been confirmed will grow the number of available seats during the summer season to just under 1.7 million.  The major jump in transatlantic air capacity coincides with The Gathering, an Irish Government backed initiative, supported by DAA, to welcome home the Irish diaspora to a series of events and festivals throughout the year.

“We are constantly working to win new business for our three airports and we’re delighted with the significant expansion in transatlantic capacity for next year,” said Harrison.  “DAA will be working closely with its airline customers, tourism agencies and other stakeholders to help promote these additional services on both sides of the Atlantic.”

At Dublin Airport, American Airlines is launching a new Dublin-JFK service, and US Airways will operate a larger Boeing 767 aircraft on its Dublin-Philadelphia route, which will add 16 per cent more seats.  Aer Lingus is also adding new transatlantic flights from Dublin next summer; with four extra Dublin-Chicago flights per week and three extra Dublin-Boston flights per week.

The added transatlantic capacity at Dublin means that Dublin Airport will have 12 daily scheduled flights to nine different US airports next summer.  “Dublin Airport will have better connectivity to the United States next summer than Gatwick or Manchester airports,” said Harrison.

Shannon Airport will also see a major uplift in scheduled transatlantic services for next year. United Airlines is launching a new Shannon - Chicago summer service from June 6, 2013 and US Airways is resuming its Shannon-Philadelphia service on May 22, 2013 after a four-year absence.  Next summer, Shannon Airport will have up to six flights per day to five different US airports.

Transatlantic routes to Ireland are heavily dependent on the leisure segment of the market, as up to 55 per cent of passengers are holiday makers, with a further 20 per cent visiting friends and relatives, according to business development data from DAA.  North American residents account for 54 per cent of passengers on transatlantic routes to Ireland, with Republic of Ireland residents accounting for 34 per cent of passengers.

According to DAA, passengers resident in other countries, including the UK, make up 14 per cent of travellers on transatlantic routes into Ireland.  Dublin Airport is seeing significant growth this year from British and European passengers transferring onto US connections at Dublin and availing of US preclearance facilities, while a daily BA service from London City to New York operates stops via Shannon.

In the table below we highlight the O&D demand between the Republic of Ireland and the US over the past five years, statistics that show a return to growth in 2011 after three years of annual decline.  This growth is expected to continue in 2012 with O&D demand up 0.4 per cent in the first half of this year, ahead of next year’s major network expansion.

SCHEDULED O&D DEMAND BETWEEN REPUBLIC OF IRELAND AND US (bi-directional O&D traffic)

Year

Estimated O&D Passengers

% Change

2007

2,425,152

9.2 %

2008

2,257,917

(-6.9) %

2009

1,964,848

(-13.0) %

2010

1,817,982

(-7.5) %

2011

1,850,941

1.8 %


State-owned DAA's principal activities include the operation and management of Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports and global airport retailing through its Aer Rianta International subsidiary.  The group is currently working on its disinvestment of Shannon Airport as the southern facility transitions to independent ownership. 

Dublin Airport Proposes Rise in Core Charges

DAA has also revealed that core airport charges at Dublin Airport will increase by 0.5 per cent in 2013, under the proposals it has outlined to airline partners.  Under the DAA proposals, this price increase will apply in summer only, as core prices in the winter period will remain unchanged. It has also proposed two technical adjustments to other elements of airport charges – a narrowing of the existing differential between charges for the use of certain types of aircraft parking stands, and an increase in the charge levied to meet the cost of providing a service to Persons of Reduced Mobility (PRM).

“Independent studies have consistently shown that charges at Dublin Airport are cheaper than at other comparable European airports, and this modest adjustment to our pricing for 2013 will continue to maintain the price advantage that we have relative to the European average,” said Vincent Harrison.  This fee adjustment will be Dublin Airport’s first overall price increase in two years.

The adjustments in charges that have been proposed by DAA could see the company’s average revenue per passenger from airport charges increase by about two per cent in 2013.  However, a portion of that increase includes an increased levy to cover the cost of providing a PRM service at Dublin Airport, which is contracted to another company

The main technical change within the DAA proposals is a reduction in the differential between the two main types of aircraft parking areas.  Historically, the charge for parking areas which required passengers to be bussed to the aircraft was cheaper than that at parking areas adjacent to a boarding gate pier.  

DAA says a large differential had developed due to a previous shortage of parking at boarding gates, which has now largely been addressed and at the request of the majority of airline customers at Dublin Airport, it now intends to reduce this differential.  A consultation process is also seeking airlines’ views on whether certain seasonal and other charges should be modified on a revenue neutral basis.

According to DAA, Dublin Airport will continue to offer “generous financial incentives” to stimulate the launch of new short-haul and long-haul routes.  All charges are waived in the first year of qualifying services and reductions on airport charges can be claimed for up to five years for new long-haul routes.  It is also supporting the expansion or reinstatement of capacity on markets that are already served with an innovative Growth Incentive Scheme to encourage overall growth in passenger numbers.

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