6 February 2002

Low-cost airlines given new terminal

The go-ahead for a new terminal for low-cost airlines using Dublin airport was given by the Irish Government yesterday.

All low-fares airlines, including Ryanair which wanted exclusivity, will be permitted to use of the terminal which is expected to be built in time for next year's holiday season.

Plans for the terminal, to be known as Pier D, are opposed by the state-backed Aer Rianta company that runs Ireland's three main airports at Dublin, Shannon and Cork.

The company, which will operate the facility, believes it does not make commercial sense and might fail to meet security and immigration requirements.

The Public Enterprise Minister, Mary O'Rourke, said the development would cost between £9.19 million £12.26 million and that would come from Aer Rianta's resources.

Ryanair yesterday reported passenger totals up by 30 per cent to 2.7 million and after-tax profits up by 35 per cent to £17.6 million in the last quarter of last year.

During the quarter, the airline's load factor rose by 79 per cent and revenue by 18 per cent to £82.6 million. A Ryanair spokesman said: "Unlike any other airline after September 11 our margins rose from 19 to 21 per cent for the quarter and net profit increased."

The company also confirmed plans to put 26 million shares, or 3.6 per cent of its equity, on offer to help fund the purchase of 100 new jets from Boeing.