By David O’Farrell
The tourism sector of the Irish economy is set to receive a major boost with the building of a new runway at Dublin Airport. In 2018, over 31 million people passed through Dublin Airport, travelling to over 180 destinations across the world. An Bord Pleanála passed the application for another runway at Dublin Airport in 2007, but due to the economic crash, plans had been put on hold until 2016.
The new runway will be over 3,000 metres long, more than six times longer than O’Connell Street and will open potential new markets for tourism in long-haul destinations such as the Americas, Asia and Africa. Construction first began on the runway in December 2016 and is on course for its scheduled completion in 2021.
The north runway is expected to deliver a 31% gain in connectivity between Dublin and the rest of the world, making it a crucial European airport. It will open opportunities for connecting tourists to spend some time in Dublin and the rest of Ireland. In the last five years, Dublin Airport has seen a 34% increase in total passenger numbers and a 59% increase in transatlantic seats, highlighting the need for another runway to cope with this ever-increasing demand.
“The north runway is expected to deliver a 31% gain in connectivity between Dublin and the rest of the world”
Tourism Ireland is the company responsible for marketing Ireland to potential tourists abroad and they see the building of the new runway as an opportunity to attract a more diverse audience to Ireland. Sinead Grace, Media and Public Relations Manager for Tourism Ireland said: “As the main gateway for tourists to Ireland, Dublin Airport has a critical role to play in the continued growth of tourism, particularly from long-haul and emerging markets.”
“As an island destination, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated, they are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism,” she continued. “As such, we work very closely with all airports on the island of Ireland, to drive inbound flights.”
“As the main gateway for tourists to Ireland, Dublin Airport has a critical role to play in the continued growth of tourism”Sinead Grace: Media and Public Relations Manager for Tourism Ireland
Tourism is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and one of the main benefits of the new runway at Dublin Airport will be the fact that it will be able to handle every type of commercial aircraft due to its length, which currently is not possible as the existing runways aren’t long enough. This will be a big boost to opening up markets in foreign locations.
Grace went on to talk about the importance of tourism in Ireland: “Tourism is responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland, and for employing about 325,000 people across the island.
“In 2018, we welcomed almost 11.2 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland (+5% on 2017), delivering revenue of approximately €5.86 billion (+5%). We are very much focused on driving growth in overseas holidaymakers; and growth in revenue from overseas holidaymakers,” she added.
“In 2018, we welcomed almost 11.2 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately €5.86 billion”Sinead Grace: Media and Public Relations Manager for Tourism Ireland
The first pavement of concrete is currently being laid onto the runway and the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) said that this is a key milestone in the construction of the €320 million runway. Dalton Philips, Chief Executive of the DAA, said: “We’re delighted to be starting to build the top pavement concrete layer of Ireland’s new runway. North runway is an essential development for the Irish economy and will help underpin additional tourism, trade and foreign direct investment for years to come.”