Terminal 2, which opened 10 years ago today on November 19, 2010 has welcomed more than 96.6 million passengers during the past decade.
But for the impact of COVID-19 on this year’s traffic, T2 would have welcomed well over 100 million passengers in its first 10 years of operation. Not a bad performance for a terminal that some commentators claimed would be a white elephant.
T2 was opened in the middle of a global economic crisis, but like all airport investments it was designed and built for decades to come rather than for the here and now.
The extra capacity that T2 delivered across the entire airport was the foundation for nine consecutive years of passenger growth from 2010 to 2019. During that period, annual passenger numbers at Dublin Airport increased by almost 79% from 18.4 million to 32.9 million. The growth, which brought economic benefits to all corners of Ireland would not have been possible without Terminal 2.
The new terminal transformed the passenger experience at Dublin Airport as about 40% of Terminal 1 passengers initially transferred to the new terminal. This radically improved the passenger experience in T1 and also allowed for a series of internal upgrades to take place
At its peak, Terminal 2 was the largest construction project in the country and employed up to 2,600 workers onsite plus hundreds more supporting the project offsite. During three years of construction, more than 10,400 men and women were involved in the overall project and more than 1,000 new jobs were created when the terminal opened.
Construction started on October 1, 2007 and begin to wind down by May 2010 when the testing of systems and training of staff started in earnest. Between June and November 2010 more than 4,000 employees of daa, airlines, ground handling companies, and retail and other service providers, were familiarised with T2 and then trained for their specific roles.
About 4,000 members of the public also who volunteered to take mock trips to trial all aspects of T2. This testing process meant Terminal 2 opened without a hitch.
With its steel and glass exterior, T2 makes great use of natural light to create a modern, comfortable and vibrant space for passengers. The design and the materials used internally in T2, such as marble floor tiles, hardwood surfaces, stainless steel and back-painted glass finishes, enhance that light and space and also keep maintenance costs to a minimum.
Terminal 2, which won a series of design and construction awards, was built on daa’s behalf by a consortium comprising Arup, Mace, Pascall+Watson and Davis Langdon PKS. The project team turned a site constraint into a feature by bringing the main airport road underneath the centre of the award-wining terminal.
The overall T2 construction project included a new terminal building, a new boarding gate pier, a new combined heat and power facility, 19 new aircraft parking stands, and an upgraded airport road network.
At T2’s official opening, daa’s then Chairman David Dilger described the new terminal as “a €600 million investment in Ireland’s future”. That investment will continue to benefit the Irish economy for decades to come.