Dublin Airport Passenger Cap Ruling – GA Not Impacted for Now

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The ongoing fight between advocates for business growth and environmental proponents over Dublin Airport’s passenger cap, which threatened to suspend all GA ops to the airport, has been resolved.

In simple terms, the Irish Aviation Authority has made the determination that GA can continue to operate to Dublin Airport as usual and won’t be impacted by the airport exceeding its passenger cap.

Here’s the background and what you need to know.


Dublin Airport Exceeded Passenger Cap

In November 2023, the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) announced that the airport’s 32-million passenger cap had been exceeded, leading to a warning from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). The DAA  said it was going to apply for an increase to 40 million passengers, but this process would take two years and is uncertain.

As a result, a proposal was made to suspend all ad-hoc flights from the end of March 24 to October 24, 2024. The ad-hoc category includes 90% airline charters and 10% general aviation.

The announcement triggered a firestorm and a very public battle between advocates for business growth and environmental proponents.

Public Relations and Political Battle

Immediately upon learning of the potential suspension, Universal Aviation Ireland, along with associations like NBAA, EBAA, and the Irish General and Business Aviation Association, began actively lobbying for solutions. A notable proposal suggested allocating 0.0625% of the airport’s passenger cap specifically for business aviation.

The proposed cap enforcement was also wildly unpopular among the largest commercial operators at DUB. Aer Lingus and Ryan Air were extremely vocal about limiting their number of ad hoc operations this year, including services for premier events such as rugby or college football.


Delayed Resolution

Originally, decisions on the proposals were expected by January 24, 2024. This date came and went as a very public and contentious battle was waged between the pro-economy and environmental-focused segments.

In the weeks leading up to the March 24, 2024, deadline, we received many questions about whether GA would be allowed to continue to operate. The official answer was, “Yes, it is business as usual for now.”


GA Will be Allowed to Continue to Operate

On April 11th, an update was finally announced. Thanks to the coordinated efforts of Business Aviation advocacy groups like IBGAA, NBAA, and EBAA, along with Universal and Universal Aviation Ireland, the Irish Aviation Authority has determined that because GA flights do not use Terminal 1 or Terminal 2, they won’t be affected by the airport’s passenger cap.

In simple terms, GA can continue to operate to Dublin Airport as usual and won’t be impacted.


Airline Ad-Hoc Traffic Continues to be Impacted

While the April 11th announcement was a win for GA, the issue will likely remain an ongoing matter. Commercial airlines use Terminals 1 and 2 for their ad-hoc traffic, so they could still potentially be negatively impacted by the passenger cap. Expect more negotiating and public feuding as this goes forward.


Conclusion

In a huge win for GA and business aviation, the Irish Airport Authority has determined that Dublin Airport’s passenger cap will not impact GA ops. Therefore, flights that were in danger of not being allowed post the March 24th deadline will no longer be affected and GA operators can continue to operate to Dublin this summer.


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