First Flight Uses New Terminal

Dublin Airport’s new Terminal 2 (T2) will see its first flight land tomorrow (Friday) when it is officially opened for business by the Republic’s Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

The new Pascall and Watson-designed T2 cost €1.2 billion to build and it is expected to create 400 new jobs in the retail outlets based there. The new terminal will be handling all Aer Lingus flights and the flights of the four American airlines operating out of Dublin.

According to a Bloomberg report, Aer Lingus will try to compete with those four US airlines by offering passengers the ability to pass through US Customs and Immigration in Dublin, thus allowing them to walk straight into the US once they land.

However, this means the airline has had to postpone the transfer of its transatlantic flights to the new terminal until the New Year, as US Customs and Border Protection authorities have decided not to open their facilities there before January. This delay will also affect US carriers that plan to use T2.

“The United States Customs and Border Protection authorities have indicated they will transfer operations into Terminal 2 in the New Year and we have realigned our transition plans to reflect this,” said an Aer Lingus spokesperson.

It has been confirmed that Etihad Airways will operate the first scheduled flights from T2 to Abu Dhabi from November 23.

All Aer Lingus passengers will continue to check in at the existing terminal building until the New Year and passengers flying from T2 will then be escorted to the new building for their flights.

However, not everyone is delighted at the opening of the new state of the art terminal. Ryanair has called for the €1.2bn ‘Taj Mahal’ to be mothballed before its opening “places even further cost increases and traffic declines on Irish aviation.”

“At a time when Terminal 1 has capacity for 30 million passengers, and Dublin Airport’s traffic has declined (for a second year) to less than 18m passengers, it is clear that the DAA’s €1.2bn T2 is a turkey which Irish tourism doesn’t need this Christmas,” said the low cost carrier, which has long been the leading critic of the development.