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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Youtube Ryanair flight FR1964 departs from the new North Runway at Dublin Airport.
on a jetplane

Inaugural flight takes off from Dublin Airport's new €320m North Runway

The new North Runway is 3.1 kilometres in length and is located 1.69km north of the current main runway at the airport.

LAST UPDATE | Aug 24th 2022, 12:14 PM

THE FIRST FLIGHT taking-off from Dublin Airport’s new runway departed at 12.10pm this afternoon. 

The flight is a Ryanair service to Eindhoven in the Netherlands being undertaken by one of the airline’s new B737 MAX aircraft. 

The €320 million North Runway, first awarded planning permission 15 years ago, will open before midday. 

The stretch of concrete is 3.1 kilometres in length and is located 1.69km north of the current main runway at the airport. 

The first flight on the runway will take off later this morning – you can view it on the airport’s YouTube channel from 11.30am. 

Head of communications at the Dublin Airport Authority Kevin Cullinane said the airport’s current main runway “has been the workhorse of Dublin Airport since it opened 27 years ago”.

This runway is just over 2.6km long. He told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that the new, longer runway will permit “further connectivity to more long-haul destinations”.

It was confirmed earlier this month that eligible householders in the vicinity of the airport are in line for a €20,000 grant to insulate their homes from night-time air traffic noise.

Cullinane said up to 300 homes are eligible for this grant.

Environmental impact

Queries had been raised in public consultation for the runway about how further airport growth fits in with Ireland’s requirement to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions in the years ahead. 

Ireland’s overall climate targets require the country to reduce emissions by 51% by 2030 and to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

A UN climate report released earlier this year showed that the impacts of climate change are already causing severe and widespread disruption around the world and drastic action is needed to avoid mounting loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure. 

Cullinane said the organisation takes its “sustainability agenda very seriously”.

“Expansion will go on, but in a more sustainable way with technological improvements due to come down the runway,” he said. 

“We’ve embedded a very proactive, sustainability strategy as a core business strategy going forward.”

He said the airport is “fully committed” to reducing carbon emissions in the months and years ahead. 

“New aircraft which are more sustainable using sustainable aviation fuels will lead to further improvement.”

The Dublin Airport FAQs on the runway said: “Although there are additional emissions associated with the proposals, the [environmental] analysis concluded that these are not significant in the context of overall national emissions.” 

Emissions from aviation account for about 2.8% of annual global CO2 output, according to the IEA.

Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said aviation emissions from over 52,500 return flights to Dublin Airport in 2021 amounted to 1.3 million tonnes of CO2, a “significant reduction” on pre-pandemic emissions. 

For context, Ireland’s overall greenhouse gas emissions were 61.53 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2021. 

But aviation emissions are not included in this total – they instead fall under the EU’s Emissions Trading System. 

An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for the North Runway in 2007. The project was put on hold after the economic crash began the following year. 

As the economy recovered passenger numbers increased – more than 31 million people travelled through the airport in 2018. 

The need for another runway became “more acute and immediate” as passenger numbers grew, according to Dublin Airport. 

In 2016, a decision was reached to again progress plans for the North Runway and it developed from there.

Dublin Chamber described the new runway as a “vital piece of infrastructure that will support the growth of the Dublin Region and Ireland through increased international connectivity”. 

“The expansion of Ireland’s aviation capacity will play an important role in Ireland’s economic recovery,” Dublin Chamber CEO Mary Rose Burke said in a statement today. 

Amid Covid recovery, the invasion of Ukraine, Brexit and resulting supply chain disruption, Ireland must diversify its markets, restore connectivity, and establish new trade routes to support economic growth and recovery.

“The delivery of the North Runway is crucial to enabling this international expansion,” she added. 

Fingal Chamber also welcomed the new runway, saying it will “provide further foreign direct investment opportunities for Ireland and will boost the local and national economy”.

- With reporting by Rónán Duffy

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