Third terminal at Dublin on long finger
There's no need for a third terminal at Dublin Airport until annual passenger numbers exceed 55 million - probably in more than 20 years' time, according to Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) chief executive Dalton Philips.
The airport boss also hopes to secure direct routes to cities such as Shenzhen in China, Tokyo and Delhi within the next three to five years, as Dublin continues to expand as a passenger hub.
Last year Dublin Airport handled just under 30 million passengers, having experienced a surge in traffic since the economy emerged from recession.
But speaking as the DAA, the semi-state that operates Dublin and Cork Airports, released strong results for 2017, Mr Philips said the capital's air gateway was returning to "normalised" growth.
Mr Philips said that to cope with 55 million passengers a year without a third terminal, "modifications" would need to be made to existing infrastructure.
"A terminal is drop-off, check-in, security, a hold area and retail," said Mr Philips, adding that the "pinch point" is on gates and aircraft stands.
"At some stage there will be the need for a new terminal," conceded Mr Philips, who took on the CEO role at the DAA last year. "We don't see it now."
Asked if it might be 20 years before Dublin Airport would require an additional terminal, Mr Philips agreed with the timeline.
"I think it's that sort of distance," he said, adding that it would be something our "children or grandchildren" would see.
He pointed out that a government capacity review is currently under way to determine the kind of infrastructure needed at Ireland's airports.
The results, which will include a timeframe for the construction of a third terminal at Dublin Airport, are due out later this year.