Terminal Two at Dublin Airport was eerily quiet yesterday
Wednesday December 15 2010
IF A tumbleweed was to roll across the shiny floor at Dublin Airport's newly opened Terminal Two it wouldn't seem out of place.
T2 opened last month to a fanfare of champagne-fuelled celebrations but yesterday the scene was anything but exciting.
The new terminal has nearly 40 shops, a new boarding gate, 25 departure gates and 19 new aircraft parking stands. The price tag came to €609m.
The first impression is one of space and openness. The views are panoramic and the elegant building itself is huge and sweeping, bright and airy and, unfortunately -- quite empty.
Yesterday there were almost as many staff as passengers inside.
Departures was a veritable ghost town with only five check-in desks out of 56 open and a handful of lonely passengers wandering about looking lost as staff smiled benignly at them, disguising the fact they must have been bored to tears.
Upstairs in arrivals, the main restaurant, Oak Tree Cafe, was closed and the empty, large, open-plan seating area overlooking the equally empty departures floor below made for an eerie view.
At the other side of the arrivals floor, Wrights Foodcourt and Diep Noodles were the only eateries open, while Spar was doing a brisk trade.
WHSmith bookshop was devoid of browsers and the staff looked out hopefully at potential customers walking by.
"The airport is not fully operational yet," staff told the Irish Independent. "Bored?" "Not really."
Travel expert Eoghan Corry told the Pat Kenny show yesterday that the new terminal was "a pitiful sight" and retailers were furious about the poor business and slowness of moving flights over.
However, the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) rejected this claim.
"We have not received a single significant complaint from a retailer in T2," a spokesman said.
"The DAA detailed the planned transfer of airline operations in mid-November and this remains the position," he said.
The DAA also refused to disclose how many flights a day were operating from the terminal, saying this was a matter for the airlines.
Etihad was already operating their flights from T2 and Aer Lingus was running a number of flights each day in advance of moving their entire operation over on a phased basis from January.
WHSmith said they would not comment on business at their new outlet until their next sales disclosure date.
Coming from the cool vastness of T2, T1 was cramped and over-run with people but the hectic atmosphere was far from unwelcome.
After rattling around T2, T1 was much cosier, busier and had a bit of warmth.
Christmas trees adorned with lights lined the walls and people bustled by, coming and going.
In arrivals, about 25 little Christmas carollers from Scoil Bhride Junior National School Donaghmede, Dublin, sang while decked out in Santa hats and reindeer ears and for all the space-age newness and class of T2, for the moment T1 is the best one to walk into when arriving home for Christmas.
- Fiona Ellis and Aideen Sheehan
FF stuffing quangos with cronies during its last days in office - Ministers appoint party insiders to roles on key state boards
http://www.independent.ie/national-news ... 98058.html
By Nick Webb and Shane Ross
Sunday January 16 2011
THE Fianna Fail-led Government is stuffing quangos and state boards with political cronies and insiders in its last weeks of office.
In an unprecedented spree of patronage, ministers have appointed Fianna Fail councillors and supporters to often lucrative part-time boardroom positions.
In the last two weeks, a series of appointments has been rubberstamped by ministers.
Leitrim FF councillor Mary Bohan has joined the board of the Health and Safety Authority, which paid its board members €97,067 in 2009. She was also appointed by Fianna Fail to the Central Fisheries Board and has served, unpaid, on the Fire Services Council.
Donegal FF councillor David Alcorn has been appointed to the National Roads Authority, which paid its directors a total of €98,000 in 2008.
Former Louth Fianna Fail councillor and activist Pearse Hanrahan has been put onto the board of the Railway Procurement Agency, which paid its board members €13,000 last year.
Transport Minister Noel Dempsey -- who is to stand down at the forthcoming General Election -- appointed both men to the key infrastructure jobs.
Fianna Fail party trustee Rich Howlin was reappointed as chairman of the National Building Agency, which paid €11,970 last year. Mr Howlin, a trustee of the party since 1993, is a former director of Coillte. Financier and Fianna Fail loyalist Dan McGing was appointed as chairman of the Drug Treatment Centre Board. The former ACC banker was once the party's auditor.
Former Progressive Democrat local-election candidate Rita Hayes has been put on the board of the National Treatment Purchase Fund with a three-year term. Board members are paid €7,695.
Ms Hayes was appointed to the post by her former Progressive Democrat constituency colleague Mary Harney.
Former Fianna Fail spin doctor Jackie Gallagher is one of the ministerial nominees to join the board of Trinity College. The post is unpaid.
Some 291 plum jobs on state boards are to be filled by ministers by the end of February as the Government bestows its final gifts to its supporters before the expected decimation in the General Election.
Fianna Fail is utterly shameless when it comes to appointing party cronies to state boards.
In recent years, former Fianna Fail general-secretary Pat Farrell has been appointed to the boards of the Health Service Executive, VHI and Dormant Accounts Board.
Former Fianna Fail senator Aidan Eames sits on the board of An Bord Gais, which paid him €11,753 in 2009. He was appointed to the board of the nationalised Anglo Irish Bank last year.
Former FF Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh was appointed by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan to BoI. He is chairman of the bloodstock quango Horse Sport Ireland. The board of the ESB includes former FF councillor Gary Keegan, while the loss-making Dublin Airport Authority has former FF minister Gerry Collins on its board.
CIE's board includes Paul Kiely, one of Bertie Ahern's closest allies, as well as Neil Ormond, who comes from a staunch Fianna Fail background.
But Fianna Fail is not alone in this regard. Progressive Democrat party trustee Brendan Malone has also served on the boards of the Dublin Docklands Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency, while another former party loyalist, Paul Mackay, sits on the board of the IDA.
The Green Party has also seen a number of key insiders parachuted on to state boards during its term in office.
- Nick Webb and Shane Ross
Airport passengers fall by 20pc
By Paul Melia
http://www.independent.ie/national-news ... 98825.html
Monday January 17 2011
PASSENGER numbers at Dublin Airport fell by two million last year because of the recession, the volcanic ash crisis and the Big Freeze.
The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) said last night that 18.5 million people used the airport in 2010, a drop of almost 20pc from the peak of 2008.
And the DAA defended the number of passengers using the €600m second terminal, T2.
Reports said yesterday that just 10 flights a day were departing from the new facility, despite a massive advertising campaign costing €500,000.
T2 is designed to handle up to 15 million passengers a year and was officially opened by Taoiseach Brian Cowen last November.
DAA spokeswoman Siobhan Moore said that five airlines would be using the terminal by the end of this week.
Continental Airlines, US Airways, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways and all Aer Lingus services to London Heathrow would be from T2, and 40pc of all passengers travelling from Dublin would be accommodated in the new terminal.
She added that US customs would be providing a full pre-clearance service from this week, and that final training and testing was being completed.
The DAA was keen to avoid the situation at T5 in London Heathrow where the baggage system failed on its opening day, causing chaos for thousands of passengers,
Dozens of flights were cancelled and planes were forced to depart half-empty, taking passengers with hand luggage only. The DAA said that extensive testing and staff training at T2 would avoid similar scenes here.
"It (T2) was always going to be introduced on a phased basis. We were conscious of what happened in T5. There was an extensive process of trialling and it's a massive operation. We've been working very closely with the airlines and handling agencies and a lot of training needed to be done.
"Airlines are moving their operations in on a phased basis. Ryanair will be the anchor tenants in T1 and they're the biggest customer in Dublin Airport followed by Aer Lingus. Sixty per cent of flights will depart from T1, and 40pc from T2.
"We've always said that T2 is for the future. There's a downturn in the economy, but the reason we built it was because in 2006, 2007 and 2008 it was dreadfully congested in T1 and there were huge complaints."
New figures from the DAA also show that passenger numbers plummeted last year.
In 2008, some 23 million people used the airport, which fell to 20.5m in 2009.
Preliminary results for 2010 show that 18.5 million passengers came through Dublin. The recession and grounding of flights during the exceptionally cold weather of January and December last year, coupled with the volcanic ash crisis in April and May, led to the fall-off.
Last week, the Irish Aviation Authority said that 513,236 flights travelled through Irish airspace last year, a 3pc drop on 2009 but 14.5pc down on the peak of 2008.
It expected an increase of 6.5pc for commercial traffic this year.
- Paul Melia
PVC King wrote:Airport passengers fall by 20pc
PVC King wrote:Less than 3,000 passengers per hour at intrajourney peak; Luas capacity is 6,000 per hour, when will the penny drop on this white elephant?
PVC King wrote:At the intermediate growth scenario rate Luas is adequate to accomodate 35 years of growth.
Luas = 6,000 per hour maximum intrajourney demand capacity
Metro North = less than 3,000 per hour maximum intrajourney demand
These are the RPA's own figures.....
We can't release the price for reasons of commercial sensitivity
Both Metro North and Dublin Underground will be built