Dublin airport is to go ahead with a €320 million plan to build a second runway.

Confirmation of the expansion comes as Heathrow and Gatwick await a decision from Westminster in the summer on whether a new runway will be allowed to be built in the south-east of England.

The second Dublin airport runway is expected to be operational in 2020 and will be built 1.6km north of the existing main runway.

The airport gained planning permission to build a new runway in 2007 but the development was put on ice due to the economic downturn and a drop in passenger numbers.

However, passenger numbers at the Irish hub it a record 25 million last year.

The airport has added almost 50 new routes and services in the past two years, with nine new airlines.
The 3,100 metre new runway could open up services to Asia and Africa, the airport authority said.

Expansion of the airport also has the potential to support more than 30,000 jobs over the next 20 years.

Dublin airport chief executive, Kevin Toland, said that the expansion would be good for business and tourism.
“Driven by demand from airlines and passengers, Dublin Airport’s current runway infrastructure is at capacity during the peak hours and this must be addressed to enable future growth,” he said.
“The north runway will significantly improve Ireland’s connectivity which plays a critical role in growing passenger numbers and sustaining the future economic development of Ireland.”
Ireland’s minister for transport, tourism and sport, Paschal Donohoe, said the new runway would bolster the country’s economic recovery.
“This project is of major strategic importance to Ireland as an island economy, in terms of improved connectivity. It has the potential to create thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly, over the coming years,” he said.