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Dublin Airport’s T2 To Welcome Test Flights in October

April 27 2010

New Terminal Opens in Mid-November

The first passengers are expected to use Dublin Airport’s new Terminal Two in October as part of the testing process for the new facility, the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has indicated.

DAA chief executive Declan Collier said trial flights would use T2 from October in the run up to the opening of the new terminal in November of this year. “The main construction phase of T2 is now almost complete and we will shortly begin a detailed series of operational trials to test all of the systems and processes in the new terminal,” he added.

T2 will transform the passenger experience at Dublin Airport, offering customers a modern user-friendly facility that will provide a platform for a more rapid return to growth, Mr Collier said.

He was speaking as the DAA published its financial results for 2009, which showed that excluding exceptional items, Group profits fell by 51% last year to €38 million, as the recession had a significant impact on its business both in Ireland and overseas.

“The Irish economy has been particularly hard hit by the downturn, causing a sharp decline in passenger numbers and consumer spending last year which had a significant impact on our business,” Mr Collier said.  Turnover declined by 13% during the year to €547 million, as passenger numbers at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports fell by 13% to 26.1 million.

The DAA has reacted to the changed economic circumstances and agreed a major cost recovery programme with staff and unions late last year. The restructuring plan will generate €38 million in annual payroll savings and other efficiencies.  Under the agreement, about 300 staff have left the company as part of a voluntary severance scheme and a further 100 contract positions have not been renewed.

All staff earning more than €30,000 have taken a reduction in pay and pay rates have been frozen until 2011. In recognition of the significant contribution that employees have made to the cost recovery process, pay levels may be fully restored if certain agreed future financial targets are met. The DAA has also significantly reduced its non payroll costs over the past 12 months.

“We have taken prudent steps to reduce our costs and have agreed an innovative package of cost saving measures with our employees,” Mr Collier said. “DAA staff voted overwhelmingly in favour of pay reductions earlier this year and we will see the benefits of our reduced cost base this year and into 2011.”

Mr Collier said the recent closure of Irish and European air space due to volcanic ash had resulted in a significant reduction in turnover for the DAA, as its Irish airports were effectively closed to traffic for six days. “About 3,200 flights were cancelled at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports as up to 400,000 incoming and outgoing passengers were affected.  The disruption cost the company up to €7-€8 million and in truth we are still counting the cost as the ripple effect of cancellations and delayed travel is still working through the system.”

The DAA has waived aircraft parking charges for its airline customers during the week of the airspace closures and is also refunding the car parking charges at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports for any customers who had an additional unplanned stay due to the volcanic ash disruption.

The DAA’s annual results showed that earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation declined by 19% to €126 million last year. To help fund the required investments in new infrastructure at Dublin Airport, gross debt was €1.25 billion at year-end, with net debt at €616 million.

Although the impact of the Group’s cost recovery programme will not be felt until this year, costs were reduced by 6% during 2009, as significant reductions were achieved in both payroll costs and the cost of materials and services.

Taking into account a number of exceptional items, the Group recorded an after tax loss of €13 million for the year, compared to a profit of €47 million in 2008. The exceptional items included a €46.5 million charge in respect of the cost recovery programme, which largely related to the voluntary severance scheme.

Passenger volumes at Dublin Airport declined by 13% to 20.5 million last year, the first annual fall in traffic at the airport since 1991. Passenger volumes at Cork Airport declined by 15% to just under 2.8 million last year, as it also saw its first decline in traffic since 1991.

Terminal traffic at Shannon Airport - which is the number of passengers who either began or ended their journey at the airport - declined by 14% to 2.4 million during the year. Overall passenger volumes at Shannon declined by 12% to 2.8 million.

Aer Rianta International (ARI), which manages the Group’s overseas airport investments and airport retailing business, had a challenging year as profits before exceptional items declined by 47% to €13.4 million.

During the year, ARI was successful in its tender to operate the main duty free outlet at Delhi International Airport’s new Terminal 3 facility, which has been designed to handle up to 34 million passengers per year. ARI will run 4,000 sq metres of retail space with its local partner IDFS when Terminal 3 opens later this year.

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