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Frequently Asked Questions

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We submitted our application in December 2020. The Planning Authorities requested further information in relation to several areas of our submission, and our final response to this request in September 2021 included, among other information, longer-term forecasts and noise data, and a revised EIAR, all of which are available on North Runway’s website and Virtual Portal, as well as the Planning Authority’s Portal.

Since planning permission was granted for North Runway in 2007, daa has always highlighted its concerns regarding two restrictive conditions attached to its operation. On December 18, 2020, daa submitted a planning application to Fingal County Council seeking to amend and replace these two conditions with proposals that take local communities’ concerns on board, whilst also safeguarding the future of Dublin Airport. 

This planning application proposes to:

  • only use North Runway from 6am to midnight, rather than 7am to 11pm as set out in the current planning conditions
  • introduce a Noise Quota Count system from 11.30pm to 6am, rather than an airport-wide 65 movement cap from 11pm to 7am 
  • introduce a noise insulation grant scheme for those most impacted by the proposed amendments
  • introduce an enhanced noise monitoring framework
We believe these proposals are fair and balanced, and provide Dublin Airport with the essential operational flexibility to support Ireland’s economy, whilst also addressing the valid concerns of our local communities.
No, we are not proposing to change night-time operating hours which are 11pm to 7am. We propose that North Runway will not be used from midnight to 6am, and that a Noise Quota System be introduced between 11.30pm and 6am which would encourage the use of quieter aircraft, resulting in the overall effects of night-time operations at Dublin Airport being less than that envisaged by the original grant of planning permission in 2007 and not exceeding that of 2018.
Yes. Our submission has been made through the formal statutory planning process which provides that all interested parties can make observations regarding our proposals to Fingal County Council during the specified submission period.   The legislation also provides that once the Competent Authority concludes its review and assessment of our application, they will make a draft determination and will commence a public consultation process to which submissions may again be made. 

In 2016, we held two series of public consultations at various local venues which covered a number of topics which continue to be central to the application we are making today. Click here to find out more.

We took on board the feedback we received during those consultations and during the intermittent years’ at local community drop-in clinics, individual and group meetings, house calls, and other engagement channels. This has led us to seek modest changes to the conditions – we are now seeking to replace and amend rather than remove. 

The enactment of the Aircraft Noise Regulation Act in 2019 and the establishment of the Aircraft Noise Competent Authority (ANCA) has also provided further guidance on our approach, taking into account the standard industry ‘Balanced Approach’.

It is important to note that the application has entered a statutory planning process which allows for two public consultations on the proposals put forward by daa - the first, conducted by Fingal County Council, concluded on February 1, 2021. The second consultation will occur once the ANCA publishes its draft determination on the noise elements of the application.


 

Construction

  • Construction Package 1 is complete. The works involved new road construction, road realignment, site preparation, services diversions, compound formation and erection of site security fencing.
  • Construction Package 2, which involves the construction of the runway, is being undertaken by a joint venture comprising of Irish firm Roadbridge and Spanish infrastructure company FCC Construcción.
  • Main construction works began in 2020 and are progressing on schedule. To find out more click here.
  • Waterford Insulation were appointed main contractor for both phases of the insulation programme. Phase 1 is complete, with substantial progress made in Phase 2. 
  • Engagement is ongoing via the St. Margaret’s Community Liaison Group and the Dublin Airport Environmental Working Group. Our regular drop-in clinics and face-to-face meetings with local resident groups and individual neighbours will resume once easement of restrictions permit. In the interim, we continue to engage as much as possible via electronic communication channels. 
Since April 2016, when we announced our plans to proceed with North Runway, there has been extensive engagement with communities. 
 
daa has met over 2,000 local residents either individually or in groups. We have held 19 public events – a combination of public consultation events, Drop-In-Clinics and mitigation scheme information events. Since 2017, we have also held 33 meetings with the St. Margaret’s Community Liaison Group and 19 meetings with the Dublin Airport Environmental Working Group which have representatives from local resident’s groups and local organisations. We have dropped leaflets to more than 41,000 local homes and sent over 3,500 emails and 2,000 letters to stakeholders.
 
We operate an open-door policy and we’re happy to meet with community members at any time. 
North Runway will be 3,110m when complete.
North Runway is located approximately 1.69km to the north of the existing main runway 10/28.
 

The first phase of runway construction commenced in December 2016 and was completed 12 months later. 

The works involved the diversion of the Naul Road and comprised the construction of a 2.5km single 8m wide carriageway including a new priority junction and spur roads.  Additionally, a second section of the Naul Road required realignment which involved the construction of a 900m single 8m wide carriageway and the installation of a new priority junction.

Two new airfield viewing areas were also constructed in addition to the erection of over 14km of fencing.  Phase one also included site clearance, tree and hedgerow removal and replanting, installation of a new 200mm water main and relocation of a local monument. 

Extensive archaeological site investigations of the North Runway site were undertaken, with as many as 30 archaeologists on site during the peak of the excavations. Multiple ecological surveys were also undertaken prior to commencing the works. This included surveys for badgers, bats and other species. Ecological habitat to compensate for the loss of the area was also provided. The Contractor carried out extensive air, noise and water monitoring as well as implementing a dedicated Environmental Management Plan and Traffic Management Plan.

The reuse of excavated earth on site and environmental recycling of site by-products was also a key feature, with initiatives such as wood from site clearance being donated to local communities and woodchip used for off-site power generation.
 
The second phase, which is the main construction phase, covers the detailed design, construction, testing, commissioning and completion of the 3,110m runway, taxiways and associated infrastructure.
The main works associated with this phase commenced in early 2019, and North Runway is due to be delivered in autumn 2022.
There are no plans to extend the runway beyond the current permitted length of 3,110m.
daa has consistently stated that there is no requirement for the construction of a third terminal at this point in time. The current terminals have sufficient capacity to deal with the projected increase in passenger traffic. In addition, a Capital Investment Programme is proposed to provide the capacity needed to allow growth in traffic and to enable further expansion. The programme will deliver new boarding gate areas, aircraft parking stands and many other significant improvements.
No. The proposed exit route for the metro is beyond the eastern end of the new runway. 

Operating Restrictions 

Planning permission for North Runway included 31 conditions. daa has consistently signalled its concerns regarding two of these conditions because of the airport-wide constraints they would impose once North Runway becomes operational.

Condition 3(d) states that North Runway cannot be used for landings or take-offs between 11pm and 7am, whilst Condition 5 places a 65 movement cap right across the airfield, within the same 11pm to 7am period.

In short, we have made the following proposals in our application:

  • only use North Runway from 6am to midnight, rather than 7am to 11pm as set out in the current planning conditions
  • introduce a Noise Quota Count system from 11.30pm to 6am, rather than an airport-wide 65 movement cap from 11pm to 7am as set out in the current planning conditions
  • introduce a noise insulation grant scheme for those most impacted by the proposed amendments
  • introduce an enhanced noise monitoring framework
It is important to note that these are proposals only and are subject to scrutiny and decision by both Fingal County Council and the Airport Noise Competent Authority.

Since these conditions were announced in 2007 by An Bord Pleanála, daa has always highlighted its intention to address them.
 

This planning application has been in development for over two years, well before the arrival of Covid-19 into Ireland. Whilst circumstances have changed for the aviation sector in the short to medium-term, there is no doubt that it will re-bound just like it has in previous crises. As a long-term infrastructure business, Dublin Airport must continue to deliver what’s required to maintain and develop Ireland’s connectivity in times of low demand, whilst ensuring it has the appropriate infrastructure and operating environment, to both promote and accommodate higher volumes of traffic that support tourism, trade and the broader economy.   

The planning process can, at times, be very lengthy, but by making this application now, we will be ready to immediately facilitate demand when it comes, and in so doing, are safeguarding Dublin Airport and Ireland Inc. for a return to growth
 

daa’s planning application has been validated by the planning authority and is available on FCC’s website

The information contained within the application is detailed and technical in nature. daa has created a virtual information portal which provides a simple overview of our proposals and also contains information on the key environmental aspects of the application. Click here to access the portal.

The application has been made through the statutory planning process and is therefore subject to public consultation.

Observations on our proposals were invited by Fingal County Council during a public consultation period which ran until February 1, 2021. There will be a further opportunity for the submission of observations during a 14-week public consultation period which will be conducted by the Aircraft Noise Competent Authority once they publish a draft determination on the noise elements of the application.  A start date for this consultation period has not yet been released.

 

 

In terms of the economic impacts, our analysis indicates that the implementation of the conditions will result in a loss of aircraft traffic movements and an associated loss of 1.1 million passengers by 2025 (and a cumulative loss of 4.3 million passengers between 2022 and 2025), almost 3,500 jobs and over €250m Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Irish economy. Based on the current distribution of jobs and economic impact, it is anticipated that 86% of the forgone direct employment and 26% of the forgone total employment (direct, indirect, induced and catalytic impacts) will be felt in the Fingal region.

Further direct and long-lasting impacts are also expected due to the conditions including:

  • 43% reduction in current capacity between 11pm and 7am
  • less routes, less competition and higher air fares
  • disruption to time-critical air cargo operations and long-haul connectivity
  • reduced potential for expansion of air services to new and existing global markets, a critical lifeline for Ireland’s small, open economy
  • reduced connections to mainland Europe at peak hours
Under daa’s new proposals, together with existing noise management plans and other mitigations, the overall effects of night-time noise at Dublin Airport will be less than envisaged under the planning permission granted in 2007, and will not exceed those in 2018.
 
Within the planning application, daa is proposing an insulation grant scheme for dwellings that are most affected by night-time noise. The proposed scheme would see grants of up to €20,000 paid to the owners of up to 350 eligible houses.
 
daa is already implementing insulation programmes in which over 200 local households are eligible to participate.  We also have a voluntary scheme in place to purchase up to 38 properties that are most affected by the North Runway development.
 
Under our proposals, an enhanced noise monitoring framework will also be introduced at Dublin Airport, in addition to a Noise Quota Count system.
 
We propose an insulation grant scheme for eligible dwellings within the 55dB Lnight contour, in addition to dwellings in the 50dB Lnight contour which will experience a +9dB increase in 2022 compared with 2018. 
 

Our virtual information portal contains high resolution and interactive 2025 Relevant Action 55dB Lnight contours associated with this proposed insulation grant scheme. Click here to access the portal.

It is important to note, however, that the insulation grant scheme is a proposal only and is subject to the Competent Authority’s review. 

 
The Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) contains analysis of our proposals on key environmental aspects including carbon.  Although there are additional emissions associated with the proposals, the analysis concluded that these are not significant in the context of overall national emissions. 
 
daa recognises the need to control aviation emissions and takes its responsibilities to sustainability, carbon reduction and the environment very seriously. We have committed to a Net Zero Carbon target for our operations by 2050 and have embedded a proactive Sustainability Strategy as a core business priority for delivery.
 
Since 2009, the aviation sector has had a common set of targets to mitigate CO2 emissions from air transport, namely an average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year from 2009 to 2020; a cap on net aviation CO2 emissions from 2020 (carbon-neutral growth); and a reduction in net aviation CO2 emissions of 50% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels. 
 
In addition, a new aircraft CO2 emissions standard which will reduce the impact of aviation greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate, will apply to all new aircraft type designs from 2020 and to aircraft type designs already in-production as of 2023.
Dublin Airport is currently licensed to operate without restrictions.
We believe we have made fair and balanced alternative proposals to the current conditions, which have taken into account the valid concerns of community members and other stakeholders. The merits of this application are subject to detailed scrutiny by Fingal County Council and the Aircraft Noise Competent Authority. daa intends to engage fully in this process and will assess the impact of the final decision when disclosed.
 

Noise

This very much depends on where you live in relation to the airport and the flight paths.  Every effort will be taken to minimise the impact of North Runway on local communities.  We will continue to work with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and airlines on operating procedures that limit noise impact i.e. noise preferential routes, environmental noise corridors, noise abatement procedures and continuous descent approach. We have published details of projected future noise contours once North Runway is operational and these contours can be viewed here.

This depends on where the house is located in relation to the airport's current and proposed flight paths, along with other factors such as the standard of insulation in the house. Details on the expected flight paths, once operations on North Runway commence, are available here.

 

No. In common with airports across Europe, noisier aircraft (referred to as Chapter 2 aircraft) are banned from Dublin Airport. Furthermore, in 2018 over 90% of aircraft using Dublin Airport were the quietest types (known as Chapter 4 and 14) compared to 83% in 2008 and 46% in 2003. This reflects the increased number of new aircraft used by Dublin Airport’s biggest carriers, namely Ryanair and Aer Lingus. Both airlines are planning to continue to introduce newer and even quieter aircraft over the coming years.
The standard method for assessing noise impacts from airborne aircraft involves the production of noise contours which illustrate the spread of noise around the airport. The contours join locations that are exposed to the same levels of noise. These contours show a set of closed curves on a map and are analogous to the contours on an ordinary map showing places at the same height. There are several different parameters that can be used to describe the effects of noise, many of which determine an ‘average’ level of noise across a given period.
 
Sound Exposure Levels reflect the noise energy of a single aircraft event in one second. 
 
When a noise varies over time, the LAeq is the equivalent continuous sound which would contain that same sound energy as the varying sound. It is common practice to measure noise using the average (A-weighting) setting. The A-weighting approximates the sensitivity of our ear to different frequencies (pitch) in the sound and helps to assess the relative loudness of various sounds. 
 
daa typically uses average contours (LAeq) for assessing the impact of new infrastructure such as runways: 
 
  • LAeq day noise contours cover a 16-hour period (7am to 11pm) over 92 days during the airport's busiest summer months.
  • LAeq night noise contours cover a 8-hour period (11pm to 7am) over 92 days during the airport's busiest summer months.

This approach is in line with that used at many other European airports and is consistent with the metrics used in the conditions set out in An Bord Pleanala's grant of planning for North Runway.

The Lden unit is a LAeq for the whole 24-hour period but includes weightings depending on when, during the 24-hour period, the noise occurs. If the noise occurs during the 12-hour day (07.00-19.00) there is no adjustment. If it occurs during the evening (19.00-2300) a weighting of +5dB(A) is added and it if is at night time (23.00-07.00) a weighting of +10dB(A) is added.  

Flight paths are the designated routes aircraft follow under the direction of Air Traffic Control (ATC). ATC in Ireland is delivered by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA-ATC). While flight paths are often shown as single lines on a map, it is not always possible for aircraft to fly exactly along that line. In practice, flight paths will vary either side of the route, within a designated flight corridor.

IAA-ATC manages aircraft for landing or take-off along specific flight paths as well as keeping aircraft at safe distances from each other in the air and on the ground. Safe movement of aircraft is a vital consideration in the development of flight paths.

The operation of an airport's runway system depends on a variety of factors such as weather conditions (especially wind direction, wind speed and factors which impact visibility) and number of take-offs and landings.
Noise Preferential Routes, also known as Environmental Corridors, are a type of flight path. Unless directed otherwise by Air Traffic Control (ATC), all aircraft taking off from Dublin Airport are required to follow specific flight paths called Noise Preferential Routes (NPRs). To minimise disruption, NPRs are designed to avoid overflight of built-up areas, where possible, minimising disturbance in neighbouring communities. 
 
NPRs are paths or corridors (1.8km at their widest points) that aircraft follow from take-off until being directed by ATC onto their main air traffic routes, typically at 3,000 feet altitude above mean sea level. Aircraft aim to travel in the middle of this corridor allowing 900m of space on either side of the aircraft. However, the precise path followed within the corridor may vary depending on factors including navigational equipment, the type and weight of aircraft and weather conditions (particularly winds that may cause drifting). Aircraft flying inside this corridor are considered to be flying on-track.
 
There may be occasions when ATC may be required to route an aircraft outside these environmental corridors, for safety reasons e.g. to avoid weather conditions. 
 

 

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Once an aircraft reaches the end of the Noise Preferential Route (NPR), normally at an altitude of 3,000 feet, a controller will turn it onto a more direct path towards its destination. Air Traffic Control can turn aircraft off NPRs below 3,000 feet for safety reasons, for example to avoid storms.

The existing flight paths follow a straight line from the end of the runway for both arrivals and departures.

For most aircraft operating from Dublin Airport, departures from all runways (except easterly departures on the existing southern runway) must maintain course straight out for five nautical miles (1 nautical mile = 1,852 metres) after take-off before commencing a turn, unless otherwise cleared by Air Traffic Control. Easterly departures on the existing southern runway must maintain course straight out for five nautical miles before commencing a turn to the north, or to six nautical miles before commencing turn to the south.

Note: Turboprop aircraft are generally turned earlier for reasons of efficiency.

Bickerdike Allen Partners LLP (BAP) has produced the future noise contours.  BAP is an integrated practice of architects, acousticians, and construction technologists with expertise in planning and noise, the control of noise vibration and the sound insulation and acoustic treatment of buildings. They have worked on similar projects with numerous airports across the UK and Europe, including Manchester, London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London City, Lisbon and Malpensa Milan.
Aircraft are now quieter than previously anticipated, and this is also a factor that was considered when new contours were drawn up. Larger aircraft help to reduce the number of movements as they can carry more passengers. Noise contours are developed on the basis of our expectations of future types of aircraft that will be used at the airport.

Noise mapping and oversight involves multiple parties of which daa - which is designated as the noise mapping body for airports – is just one.  Responsibilities in this area include:

  • Local Authorities are responsible for producing Noise Action Plans.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency has overall oversight of the noise mapping and planning process and is responsible for reporting the results to the EU every five years.   
  • Fingal County Council, the appointed Competent Authority, is charged with independently assessing noise contours and ensuring that required noise controls/restrictions at airports are appropriate and in line with the Balanced Approach.

In June 2016 Directive 2002/30/EC was repealed and replaced by Regulation 598/2014. Regulation 598/2014 establishes the rules and procedures for the introduction of noise related operating restrictions (if required) using the Balanced Approach.  

The new Regulation reinforces the requirement for airports and competent authorities to apply the Balanced Approach when considering the introduction of noise related operating restrictions at airports. Such operating restrictions should only be introduced if the noise abatement objective of the airport cannot be met through the other Balanced Approach measures (Reduction at source, Land-use Planning and Operating Procedures). The Regulations also introduce a more stringent definition for 'marginally complaint' Chapter 3 aircraft. 

EU Regulation 598 was transposed into Irish law through the enactment of the Aircraft Noise (Dublin Airport) Regulation Act 2019, which was signed by President Higgins in May 2019. Under this new legislation, Fingal County Council has been appointed as the Competent Authority.

Environment and Health

The Environmental Impact Statement and planning appeals process undertaken in advance of the grant of permission was independent and very extensive. It concluded that the mitigation measures proposed by daa or applied by the planning authorities would ensure that any environmental impact would be minimised. We are committed to ensuring that this is the case for both the construction and operation of the runway.
 
 
 

Dublin Airport is always striving to minimise the negative impacts on the environment associated with its operations and its evolving growth. Since 2009, the airport has actively participated in the voluntary Airport Carbon Accreditation Scheme and has consistently achieved reductions in carbon emissions since entering the programme.  The airport is now aiming to achieve carbon neutral status by 2020 under the scheme. 

Dublin Airport manages and reduces its own direct emissions in line with its obligations under the various national and EU energy efficiency and carbon regulations. 

However, due to the international dimension of aviation, the control of international aircraft emissions is at supra national level.  Aircraft emissions from flights between countries within EU/EEA (European Economic Area) area are included within the EU Emissions Trading Scheme which is one of the parcel of measures identified by EU to achieve a 20% reduction in CO2 by 2020 and a 40% reduction by 2030. 

In recognition of the need to help manage the growth in international aircraft emissions, agreement on a global Carbon Off-Setting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) was reached in ICAO on 6 October 2016. Ireland, as part of the 44 member states of the European Civil Aviation Conference, has made a declaration to adhere to the international scheme from its first implementation phase from 2021. 

The off-setting scheme proposed by ICAO will enable carbon neutral growth from 2020 and as such will result in airlines paying to off-set their additional carbon emissions through the purchase of carbon credits. This means that airlines can grow but the additional carbon emissions will be off-set and paid for by the airlines. daa fully supports the adoption of such a scheme.

This CORSIA scheme is one of the measures supported by the international aviation industry to address the climate change challenges. Since 2009, the aviation sector has had a common set of ambitious and robust targets to mitigate CO2 emissions from air transport:

  • An average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year from 2009 to 2020;   
  • A cap on net aviation CO2 emissions from 2020 (carbon-neutral growth); 
  • A reduction in net aviation CO2 emissions of 50% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels.

The industry has been taking impressive collaborative efforts to meet these goals, with representatives from airlines, airports, air traffic management and the manufacturing sector all taking part in the process. 

In March 2017 ICAO also adopted a new aircraft CO2 emissions standard which will reduce the impact of aviation greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate. The standard will apply to all new aircraft type designs from 2020 and to aircraft type designs already in-production as of 2023. Those in-production aircraft that do not meet the standard by 2028 will no longer be able to be produced unless their designs are sufficiently modified.

daa takes its responsibilities to climate change seriously and has committed to managing its own carbon emissions, in line with all relevant public sector requirements. We will also continue to influence others to manage their emissions.

Dublin Airport has more than 1,600 local, urban, national bus and coach movements per day and is the country’s largest bus station. A Mobility Management Plan for the airport is in place which specifies how we address staff and passenger access to the airport and sets out measures to increase use of sustainable transport modes. The airport is fully supportive of the introduction of a metro system for the airport. 

We are committed to converting to Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) technology wherever possible and Dublin Airport is actively seeking to encourage other operators on site to do the same. Clear targets have been identified in order to fulfil our ambitions to become a national leader in LEV usage.
 
While Dublin Airport is not directly responsible for the control of third party emissions such as those from surface transport access or energy used in tenant buildings, we do try to influence these emissions at the airport by working with the airport stakeholders.
 
Dublin Airport is aiming to convert to Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) technology wherever possible and has a number of targets which it hopes to deliver:
 
  • By 2020 the use of LEVs will be specified in procurement processes for daa service providers who operate vehicle fleets
  • By 2022 Dublin Airport will convert its bus operations to a LEV fleet
  • By 2022 the use of LEVs will be mandated for airside operators
  • By 2023 Dublin Airport will convert to a LEV fleet
  • By 2024, daa will install Fixed Electrical Ground power to replace diesel generators on all contact stands
There is an Air Quality Monitoring Programme in place at Dublin Airport and in surrounding areas. Data is collected at a stationary onsite monitoring station and through eleven passive diffusion tube sampling stations located in the surrounding areas.  Data collected includes nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter. Results have been consistently below threshold limits set by EU regulations. daa publishes air quality monitoring results annually and results are also shared with local communities. To find out more click here. 
 

Fuel dumping rarely occurs at Dublin Airport, and only takes place in emergencies, under the strict control of the Air Navigation Service Provider (IAA-ANSP).

 

Mitigation Measures

The EU Directive 598/2014 has endorsed the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) concept of a Balanced Approach to aircraft noise management. The National Aviation Policy (NAP) for Ireland, published in 2015, states that Ireland will implement a Balanced Approach to noise management at Irish Airports and Dublin Airport is abiding by this policy. The approach incorporates four key elements to the mitigation of noise levels at airports:

  • Reduction of Noise at Source – Quieter Aircraft
  • Land-use planning
  • Noise Abatement Operational Procedures
  • Operating restrictions

Reduction of Noise at Source - Quieter Aircraft 

  • Modern aircraft are quieter than their predecessors and this has been mainly achieved by technological developments in aircraft design. Noise standards are developed by ICAO and enforced throughout the EU. The ICAO noise chapter certification defines the specific noise performance criteria which aircraft must achieve. Chapter 2 aircraft have been banned from operating within the EU since 2002. The vast majority of aircraft operating in the skies above the EU are now Chapter 4 with an increasing number of Chapter 14 aircraft entering the fleet as airlines take delivery of newer aircraft.  
  • At Dublin Airport, we are fortunate to have a large proportion of aircraft that meet the most stringent noise classes (Chapter 4 and 14). In 2018, over 90% of aircraft operating here were the quietest models.

Land-use planning

  • Land Use Planning and management requires working with our local authority, Fingal County Council, to safeguard land use in the vicinity of the airport and to limit impact on local and future communities. 
  • A new runway has been incorporated in successive County Development plans since the 1970s and Dublin Airport has benefitted from that far-sighted planning process that has kept the approaches to the runways largely clear of development and limited noise exposure. This is achieved by reference to the noise and public safety zones established during statutory planning processes. Fingal County Council's County Development plan 2017-2023 defines 'inner' and 'outer' noise zones. The inner zone limits new residential development and other noise-sensitive areas. The outer zone controls inappropriate development and requires noise insulation where appropriate. 
  • The new runway is being constructed on the airport’s own land bank and unlike many other international airports, we have very few people living under our flight paths which means that land-use planning has been effective to date. 

Noise Abatement Operational Procedures

At Dublin Airport we have worked closely with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) on noise abatement procedures to minimise the effects of aircraft noise on local communities which include:  

  1. Environmental corridors where aircraft adhere strictly to flight paths 
  2. Continuous descent procedures for arriving aircraft 
  3. Noise abatement and take off climb procedures for departing aircraft 
  4. Restricted reverse thrust for aircraft 
  5. Designated times and location on the airfield for engine test run ups
  6. Preferential runway usage 

Operating restrictions 

A fundamental requirement of the Balanced Approach is that when determining the most appropriate combination of noise mitigation measures for a given airport, operating restrictions should only be introduced after consideration of the other three elements.  The Balanced Approach recognises that noise challenges are unique to each airport and a tailored approach needs to be adopted. There are currently no operating restrictions in place at Dublin Airport.

Under Conditions 6 and 7 of the planning permission associated with North Runway, daa has developed voluntary noise insulation schemes for schools and residential dwellings located in the 60dB and 63dB contours, respectively. All eligible schools and residential dwelling owners have been contacted regarding the schemes. daa is also offering a Voluntary Dwelling Purchase Scheme to eligible residents, who have also been contacted. 
  • Dwellings which fall within the predicted 69dB LAeq 16hr day contour are currently eligible for the Voluntary Dwelling Purchase Scheme.
  • Dwellings which fall within the 63dB LAeq 16hr day contour are currently eligible for the Voluntary Residential Noise Insulation Scheme.  It should also be noted that daa has extended participation in the scheme to over 40% more houses than required by the grant of permission because we have regard to the 63dB LAeq, 16hr day noise contours submitted to An Bord Pleanala in 2007 rather than the current forecasts which would encompass a much smaller area. 
  • Schools which fall within the 60dB LAeq, 8hr day contour are eligible for the voluntary Schools Insulation Scheme.
daa has undertaken an extensive engagement programme in relation to both the Voluntary Residential Noise Insulation and Voluntary Dwelling Purchase Schemes. All eligible residents have been contacted directly. 

There is no requirement for Compulsory Purchase Orders to facilitate the construction of North Runway. The new runway is being constructed on the airport's own land bank. 

 
The mitigation measures offered to eligible residents in Dublin surpass those being considered in many other locations. At many airports, residents are merely offered a grant for partial insulation costs, which they then have to source and install. In contrast, daa is surveying properties, stipulating a package of complete works, and taking responsibility for the entire installation and quality control process. While this is a costlier approach, it will provide a long-term, effective solution for affected residents.   

A package comprising of some or all of the following measures will be available as part of the scheme: double or secondary glazing for all windows and external doors, attic insulation comprising of layers of insulation, and acoustic solutions for vents and chimneys. 

It should be noted that under Condition 7 of the 2007 planning permission a review will take place every two years which will include the updating of the 63dB contour to determine if any additional dwellings become eligible to avail of the scheme. 
 

Airport and Runway Operation 

Option 7B is a preferred runway concept, which was agreed as part of the 2007 runway planning permission to lessen the impact of aircraft noise on local communities.

Mode of operation 7B provides that:

  • the parallel runways - 10R-28L (existing main runway) and 10L-28R (North Runway) - shall be used in preference to the cross runway, 16-34;
  • In westerly operations, when winds are westerly, approximately 70% of the time, Runway 28L shall be preferred for arriving aircraft; either Runway 28L or 28R shall be used for departing aircraft as determined by air traffic control.
  • In easterly operations, when winds are easterly, approximately 30% of the time, either Runway 10L or 10R as determined by air traffic control shall be preferred for arriving aircraft. Runway 10R shall be preferred for departing aircraft.

Most of the time the two runways at Dublin Airport will be operated in segregated mode, i.e. one runway for all arrivals, the other for all departures.  However, there will be occasions during peak hours when runways will need to operate in mixed mode, i.e. both runways used simultaneously for arrivals and departures. For safety and aircraft separation reasons, international standards for mixed mode operations require that aircraft courses diverge by at least 15°, approximately one nautical mile after take-off.

Several flightpath options were considered following consultation with local communities and other stakeholders, which resulted in a proposed 15-degree divergence on North Runway departures in easterly operations, with 15 and 75-degree divergences in westerly operations. It was also proposed that departures from the South Runway will continue on a straight course i.e. no divergence.

These proposals were subject to a comprehensive safety case and assessment by the Irish Aviation Authority, which confirmed the 15-degree divergence on North Runway departures in easterly operations and resulted in a minor change for westerly departures with 30 and 75-degree divergences. Departures from the South Runway will continue to be straight out i.e. no divergence.
 

Efforts to enhance runway capacity have been ongoing at Dublin Airport for many years. The Runway Process Improvement Group, comprising of the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), based-airlines and Dublin Airport Operations, has a remit to increase runway capacity at Dublin Airport.

Specialist consultancy and analysis is undertaken by NATS Analytics, which conducted a detailed capacity assessment in 2013. This has formed the basis of a multi-year work programme to incrementally increase runway capacity.

As a result of the work of the Runway Process Improvement Group and NATS Analytics, Dublin Airport was able to accommodate 35 departures in the peak hour of the morning in time for summer 2016 (two years earlier than planned). A similar number of departures were accommodated in the peak hour in summer 2017. This was achieved by reducing separation between successive departures and the implementation of Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM). These efforts also involved negotiating with the UK's en-route Air Navigation Service Provide (ANSP) in relation to reduced in-flight separation trails when entering UK airspace.  It is anticipated that the maximum number of departing aircraft that could be achieved in the peak morning hour, given the need to allow runway time for aircraft arriving, is 39. 

However, capacity in the peak hours is constrained, i.e. demand outstrips capacity, which is why it is critically important that we deliver the new North Runway.
 
The passenger numbers that can be accommodated at a single runway airport is significantly impacted by a range of factors including:
  • The size of aircraft using the airport: Gatwick has bigger aircraft using its airport than at Dublin (on average 154 passengers per aircraft versus 130 at Dublin); therefore, its runway accommodates more passengers when compared to Dublin.
  • Operational procedures adopted by the aviation authorities: Gatwick has more permitted departures per hour and its air traffic controllers adopt different procedures in the air.  Aircraft depart from Gatwick on diverging routes after take-off, allowing them a minimum interval of 60 seconds between successive departures.  This is not the case at Dublin; aircraft follow the same route after take-off, which requires a minimum of c. 80 seconds between successive departures.
  • Dublin Airport is continually working to ensure we maximise runway capacity whilst maintaining safety at all times.  
As a commercial semi-state company, daa is required to ensure that its capital appraisal and management processes are consistent with the Department of Finance guidelines in this area. North Runway, in common with other developments by daa, is funded without any recourse to the public purse.