Night flights decision must stand to protect Ireland’s trade – FTA Ireland

Night flights at Dublin Airport provide a vital corridor for Irish trade and should be allowed to continue, according to Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI).

Speaking following the High Court’s decision to grant a stay on a decision which would reduce the number of flights using Dublin’s north runway between the hours of 11pm and 7am, FTA Ireland’s CEO Aidan Flynn highlighted the benefits that these flights bring to the Irish economy: “Night flights are critical to the continued and efficient supply chain across Ireland,” he said. “They ensure that time sensitive goods such as specialist foods and high value items can be delivered at the start of the working day, maximising productivity for thousands of organisations across the country, and ensuring minimal delays for consumers.

“Air freight makes a significant contribution to the Irish economy – cargo night flying supports €1.1 billion pa in GDP and 15,000 jobs, and accounts for 38% of all freight transported via Dublin Airport. Reduction of night-time flight slots would have a disproportionate impact on logistics businesses and their customers across Ireland, and reduce the effectiveness of Irish trade, as well as having a significant impact on services to European and global supply chain partners.”

FTA Ireland made a substantial submission to Fingal County Council in January 2021, outlining the benefits which night flights bring to the Irish economy.  The submission followed the August 2022 publication of the Airport Noise Competent Authority (ANCA)’s regulatory decision which amended two conditions attached to the granting of planning for the North Runway.  These included amended use of the runway to prevent any arrivals or departures between 0000 and 0559 hours, and the implementation of a quota system for night-time noise at the airport.

The situation is a complicated one and any outcome must weigh up benefits to the economy with noise management issues, according to Aidan: “Dublin Airport is ideally located to provide a gateway to markets both inside and outside Ireland, and already plays a significant role in the growth of the Irish economy. Any changes to the complex schedule of flights could have a significant impact not only on business but on Ireland’s reputation as a trading nation. It is imperative that the implementation of any changes to current flight schedules be delayed for a minimum of six months, to give An Bord Pleanála time to complete the necessary research successfully and make a considered decision on the Air Noise Competent Authority (ANCA)’s decision.”