ON NOVEMBER 19 Dublin Airport’s new €600 million (US$787m) Terminal 2 was officially opened by Ireland’s Taoiseach (Head of Government) Brian Cowen. Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) Chairman David Dilger described the event as: “an investment in Ireland’s future”.
At its peak, Terminal 2 was the largest construction project in the state, and employed up to 2,600 workers on site. During three years of construction, more than 10,400 men and women were involved in the project and the DAA says that more than 1,000 new jobs will be created with the opening of the new terminal.
Mr Dilger, speaking at T2’s official opening ceremony, said: “Terminal 2 will dramatically improve the travel experience for all Dublin Airport users for many years to come.
“Designed with the passenger in mind, T2 has been planned and built for the long-term.
“The new terminal is the centrepiece of a five-year investment programme to expand, improve and upgrade Dublin Airport. Our passengers told us that they wanted better facilities and we have delivered them.”
Taoiseach Cowen described the new terminal as a key infrastructural investment. “T2 was designed and built not just for this year or the next, but for many decades into the future. To view it through the prism of the current downturn would be short-sighted in the extreme. By investing prudently in improved facilities, we are laying the foundations for future growth and prosperity; not just for Dublin Airport, but also for the wider Irish economy,” Mr Cowen added.
The new terminal was funded through a combination of commercial revenues, aeronautical charges and borrowings as the DAA receives no state funding.
Mr Dilger said: “Competitive airport charges have been a cornerstone of Dublin airport’s development in recent years and DAA will continue to provide excellent value for money for passengers and airline customers. “Dublin Airport’s current passenger charge is 25% lower than the average charge levied in 2009 by comparable European airports such as Brussels, Copenhagen, Stansted, Gatwick, Lisbon, Zurich, Vienna, Munich and Oslo.”
A DAA statement says that with: “its steel and glass facade, the new terminal makes use of natural light to create a modern and comfortable space for both departing and arriving passengers. The three storey facility has been designed with bright spaces in areas where passengers dwell such as check-in, baggage reclaim, security and the departures lounge.”
Terminal 2 will be home to Aer Lingus, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways and US Airways. The new facility is opening for operations on a phased basis, as agreed with the DAA’s airline customers.
Aer Lingus has already started putting selected flights through Terminal 2. Starting from November 23, the Irish flag carrier has operated a range of flights into and out of the new terminal over recent weeks as it prepares for the full transfer of its scheduled operations from January.
Etihad Airways also operated its first full scheduled service on November 23.
T2 will also house a new US pre-clearance facility that will allow passengers on US bound flights clear all customs, immigration, agriculture and security checks before leaving Ireland. The Dublin pre-clearance facility will open in the New Year and US carriers will transfer into Terminal 2 to coincide with this timeframe.
US pre-clearance has been in operation at Shannon Airport since last summer and Ireland is the only country outside North America and the Caribbean that will offer this service to travellers.
Passengers using pre-clearance at Dublin will be treated as if they are a domestic US passenger and will face no further checks upon entry to the United States. Using preclearance in Dublin will also allow airlines to land at domestic gates and terminals in the US, which is designed to open up new destinations and deliver significant cost savings to airlines.
“The commercial and economic benefits of US pre-clearance are very important, not alone for the DAA but for the Dublin region and for Ireland as a whole,” Mr Cowen said.
T2 also contains almost 40 new shops and food and beverage outlets, combining the best of Irish and international retail. The vast majority of the outlets will be operated by third party concessionaires and the income from this retail space, which is fully let, directly subsidises passenger charges at Dublin Airport.
The overall T2 construction project includes 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.
Terminal 2, which has already won a major design award for its use of structural steel, was built by a consortium comprising Arup, Mace, Pascall+Watson and Davis Langdon PKS.