Warning of skyrocketing airfares: Ryanair urges action to lift Dublin’s passenger cap


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Ryanair, Ireland’s leading airline, has warned that Christmas and winter fares from Dublin to London could surge to €500 due to the cap on passenger numbers at Dublin Airport (DUB).


The budget carrier, which had planned to add an extra 300,000 seats during peak periods, now faces the inability to do so as the airport can only accommodate up to 32 million passengers per year.

An unexpected decrease of over one million seats is causing an increase in airfares for Christmas, mid-term breaks, St Patrick’s Day, Cheltenham, and other significant events.

Ryanair has consistently advocated for the removal of this restriction to meet passenger demand, but so far, no action has been taken by the Transport Minister, Eamon Ryan.

For the first time, the IAA has imposed a winter limit of 14.4 million passengers on DUB airport – a significant reduction that endangers numerous flights and routes.

With Dublin out of the question due to economic limitations affecting expansion for Ryanair and other carriers, the airline has chosen to station three planes, open 16 new routes, and hire more than 200 people in Southern Italy instead.

Eliminating Boeing 8200 eco-friendly planes from DUB Airport underscores the impact of the capacity cap, leading to a reduction of 16% in CO2 emissions and a substantial decrease of 40% in noise.

The airline’s CEO, Eddie Wilson, has called on Minister Ryan to urgently eliminate the passenger limit set for just 32 million at Dublin Airport following the airline’s receipt of fewer seats (by a million) than what is needed for the upcoming winter season.

Over the six months from October 2023 to March 2024, Cirium’s data indicates that a total of 51,087 scheduled departures were planned for DUB airport. With around 9 million seats and 15.7 billion available seat kilometers (ASK), these figures provide a significant indication of the airport’s activity during this time.

Over the next few years, from 2024 to 2025, there will be a reduction in the number of flights and seats at the airport, while ASKs will see an uptick, implying underutilization of capacity.

The IAA reports indicate that the runway’s limits for both arrivals and departures at Dublin airport have not been adjusted yearly, while the planning situation enables handling of about 32 million passengers annually.

Ryanair argues that these planning conditions must be reflected in the slot allocation, emphasizing the importance of accommodating passenger demand during peak periods.

In the June 7th local elections, Ryanair urges electors to support candidates advocating for eliminating the limiting cap and keeping Dublin Airport an essential component of our country’s infrastructure.

If Minister Ryan fails to act, passengers could face significantly higher airfares at peak periods, causing further harm to Irish tourism, jobs, and connectivity.

Others weigh in

The DAA (Dublin Airport Authority) has emphasized the importance of adhering to the planning conditions; however, Ryanair believes these restrictions are outdated and detrimental to the aviation industry in Ireland.

With continued growth in air travel, the 32 million passenger cap risks becoming a significant constraint on Dublin Airport’s expansion plans and the broader national aviation strategy.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) has also expressed concern over the detrimental impact of this cap on jobs, tourism, and the economy.

IBEC expresses concerns over the cap, which hinders competition and innovation in the aviation industry. (IBEC)

Travel industry expert Eoghan Corry agrees that the €500 winter fares between Dublin to London and London could become a reality if the cap remains in place.

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