Dublin airport US Customs facility denied expansion

View of Dublin Airport US Customs and Border facility.
Photo Credit: Dublin Airport

In a move which has surprised some the latest application at Dublin for an extension has been denied.
A planned extension to the US Customs and Border Protection facility (CPB) was denied on grounds called by the applicants as “totally unreasonable and unjustified”

A quick decision


Speaking back in May 2023 a spokesman for Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) said: “With the support of the SASC [South Apron Support Centre] in place, construction of the CBP extension is then expected to take just over two years.”

“The CBP phasing strategy will involve eight phases for the reconfiguration and expansion of the existing building to ensure no impact on existing airport operations,” he said.

“The existing CBP facility requires immediate expansion to accommodate the current number of people taking advantage of the facility to pre-clear US immigration at Dublin Airport, the fifth largest transatlantic hub airport in Europe.”

Dublin Airport T2 exterior
Photo Credit: Dublin Airport

DAA’s thoughts


The key point of the denied application was, as the DAA had said, to enable the airport to better deal with the current number of people who transit through the facility.

The CPB facility has been fully open in it’s current configuration since 2011. It allows passengers at Dublin and Shannon airports to complete all US immigration, customs and agriculture inspections before departure.

This has been an incredibly popular draw to those using the airport for travel to the Unites States of America. This then allows them to arrive as domestic passengers in the US, greatly speeding up the arrival process for many.

As recently reported in the indipendent.ie: The planning consultants say the Council planning officer “fails to recognise that the CBP facility is an existing terminal facility at Dublin airport”.

Clear trend for passenger numbers


Although known for it’s allowing ease of arrival for passengers when Stateside there has been a desire at DAA to help smooth the passenger journey at Dublin for some time.

With 1.7 million passengers expected to use the CBP facility in 2023 the increased capacity that would come with the 2 year upgrade programme would clearly be welcome.

The 1.7 million passengers itself is an increase of 13% over 2022, and with a cautious but positive outlook for the future it’s easy to imagine that within the next 24 months that could increase further.

Photo: Passengers Arrive at Dublin International Airport Terminal 2. Photo Credit: Dublin Airport

Dublin Airport Authority engaged Coakley O’Neill as planning consultants and they originally lodged the application at the end of May 2023. They have now lodged an appeal to the planning appeal authority, An Bord Pleanála, to try and overturn the decision.

As part of that appeal they have written: “there is no basis for a refusal of permission on traffic grounds, given that there is no increase in operational traffic movements”.

Further reinforcing their argument with the opinion that the expansion: “will address a particular chronic congestion issue that is hampering the effective and efficient operation of a critical element of Dublin airport’s offering for airlines and passengers”.

We don’t currently have an estimate from the appeal board regarding when a decision, about the denied Dublin extension, will be reached.

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