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DAA previously moved to purchase the facility after a shortage of reasonably priced places this summer. Alamy
No deal

Competition watchdog blocks Dublin Airport operator from purchasing private car park

The CCPC said the purchase could lead to increased prices for customers, and reductions in quality of service.

THE COMPETITIONS WATCHDOG has blocked the operators of Dublin Airport from purchasing a privately-owned car park near to the site following an investigation into the acquisition.

DAA, the operators of the airport, previously moved to purchase a QuickPark facility in Santry, Co Dublin to immediately increase the number of car parking spaces by over 6,000 after a shortage of reasonably priced places this summer.

Last August, the Competitions and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) announced it would be investigating the matter following a number of third-party submissions objecting to the acquisition.

Announcing the conclusion of its investigation today, CCPC said it blocked DAA from purchasing the site due to concerns that the deal would “lead to higher prices and lower service quality for consumers”.

The site, which was previously closed in September 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, is owned businessman Gerard Gannon and is located on the Swords Road.

DAA already owns and operates all other large car parks serving Dublin Airport.

The watchdog’s chair Brian McHugh said the acquisition would “eliminate” DAA’s only significant competitor, resulting in the operator “essentially having a near monopoly” for parking.

The findings of the investigation found, if the purchase were to go ahead, DAA would control 90% of parking facilities around the airport. Six hotels in the area currently control alternative parking facilities, five of which just hold 1% of capacity.

The CCPC said the current car park provides an “important level of competition” and that previous promotions from the former operator of the private car park put pressure on DAA to reduce prices and increase the quality of its services in the past.

While the watchdog said that the QuickPark site remains an “attractive and viable business opportunity for alternative purchasers”, allowing the sale of the site to DAA could risk customers facing increased prices and reduced quality of service.

Responding to the decision by the CCPC today, DAA said it was disappointed with the ruling and that it was “bad news” for customers who will face difficulty finding adequate parking facilities at the Airport.

“daa is baffled by the CCPC view that daa buying the facility would have led to car park prices increasing: it would have the opposite effect, as is the norm in supply and demand economics,” a spokesperson said.

The operators are reviewing the decision and will consider appealing the ruling, they added.

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