For an island nation like Ireland, having a suitable airport is invariably necessary to ensure sufficient connectivity, ease of transport, and increase economic attractiveness. Dublin airport, however, the country’s largest, has gained significant criticism from Emirates among others. Here we consider these criticisms and look at the broader relationship between airlines and airports.
Emirates cavils about Dublin’s infrastructure
As reported by Fora, Emirates claims that Dublin airport’s infrastructure has a “steady negative impact” on its business in the country. The company points to all customer touchpoints in the airport, stating that everything from check-in areas to boarding lounges are no longer fit for purpose.
Emirates Ireland manager, Enda Corneille, told Fora that only the airport only has one 777 compatible stand at the airport’s Terminal two when US clearance is in operation. Indeed, this capacity constraint can be challenging for the airline, which flies two 777s daily.
Emirates also told the Irish Times that it would consider a third daily service to Dubai, provided the airport underwent an expansion program. They further told the newspaper that Emirates would not rule out services out of secondary airports such as Shannon.
Emirates is not alone: Ryanair, Aer Lingus, and politicians are unsatisfied
Emirates’ grievances with Dublin airport are not isolated. Far from it, in fact.
This past week, an Irish TD (Member of Parliament) called queues at the airport “an ongoing mess”. Further, telling the Irish Independent that the queues “give a terrible first impression of the country for those arriving for the first time and a terrible welcome home for those returning”.
Other airlines too have griped about the airport. Ryanair, for one, has claimed that the security staff has a “shocking” rate of absenteeism. The low-cost carrier even went as far as to lodge a complaint to the Commission for Aviation Regulation, according to Fora.
As for Aer Lingus, the company has said that it seeks growth out of Dublin and supports the airport’s expansion plans. Contrary to its low-cost rival, the company has even said that it would accept an increase in passenger charges should the financial need arise amid expansion.
Dublin Airport is not unique
The contentious relationships between airports, airlines, and the countries they serve is not unique to Dublin and Ireland.
Further east, last year’s Christmas rush caused massive queues at Frankfurt airport, resulting in hundreds of missed flights. The events unimpressed Lufthansa, the airport’s largest customer and put a strain on the generally warm relationship between the airline and the airport company, Fraport.
Internationally, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for both, more investment, and lower charges by airports based on a case by case basis.
For example, the Association has called upon the Greek government to increase investments. Simultaneously, IATA has welcomed European Union measures seeking to limit airport charges.
Have you flown out of Dublin recently? What were your impressions? What do you think of Emirates claims? Is your home airport capable of meeting the market needs? Let us know in the comments.