Ryanair Calls For Dublin Airport to ‘Scrap the Cap’

Ryanair officials with Dublin Airport sign
Photo Credit: Ryanair

Ryanair is urging Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to take immediate action and scrap the 32m traffic cap at Dublin Airport.

The call follows the Winter ’24 slot allocation, which saw Ryanair allocated 1 million fewer seats than what it felt was required.

The uplift is needed to meet the anticipated demand during peak travel periods. This includes the October mid-term break, major sporting events, and the Christmas season.

The Impact of the Artificial Cap

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has confirmed that it will limit Winter traffic at Dublin Airport to just 14.4m passengers.

Ryanair says the move has forced it to reduce its planned growth and capacity at the airport.

The carrier is aiming to grow by +9% and carry 7.5m passengers to/from Dublin Airport this Winter, along with launching 15 new routes.

Ryanair has only been allocated 6.4m seats due to the artificial traffic cap.

As a consequence, the airline says the shortage of over 1 million seats compared to the required capacity is expected to have a significant impact on airfares.

As demand outstrips supply, prices could soar to levels last seen in the 1980s, making air travel less accessible for many Irish citizens and visitors, the airline warned.

A Ryanair 737 taxis at Dublin Airport.
Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ryanair’s Forced Relocation and Lost Investment

The traffic cap has already had severe consequences for Ryanair’s operations and investments in Ireland.

The airline has been compelled to switch 3 aircraft ($300m investment), 16 new routes, and over 200 jobs to Southern Italy for Summer ’24.

This move was necessitated by the artificial traffic cap and the daa’s lack of a fit-for-purpose environmental scheme, as confirmed by the IAA.

Furthermore, Ryanair has removed its environmentally-friendly Boeing 8200 aircraft from its Dublin fleet due to the daa’s shortcomings. These aircraft reduce CO2 emissions by 16% and noise by 40%,

A Call to Action for Irish Voters

With the 2024 local elections taking place on Friday, 7th June, Ryanair issued a public call to action. It is urging Irish citizens to vote for politicians who will take decisive action to lift the artificial traffic cap.

The airline says that people must protect Irish tourism, jobs, and the economy from irreparable damage.

Ryanair argues that the daa’s repeated mismanagement of Dublin Airport should not penalize Irish citizens.

The IAA regulator recently required the airport authority to review its excessive price increases for non-compliance with EU regulations.

Ryanair: Growth and Investment in Ireland

Despite the current challenges, Ryanair says that it remains committed to growing and investing in Ireland.

The airline has now submitted proposals to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan. These urge an increase in Irish traffic by +50%, from 20m to 30m passengers by 2030.

However, the airline claims that Minister Ryan has failed to act on these proposals. It says that the inaction is causing significant damage to Ireland’s tourism sector.

Eddie Wilson, Ryanair’s CEO offered comment on the airline’s contentions. He has emphasized the urgent need for Minister Ryan to lift the “archaic and destructive” traffic cap from Dublin Airport.

Failure to do so, he warns, will result in stalled traffic growth, negatively impacting jobs, tourism, and connectivity.

Passengers will bear the brunt of this inaction, says Wilson. Airlines cannot add extra flights to meet demand during peak travel periods, forcing passengers to pay higher airfares.


Ryanair continues to call for the removal of Dublin Airport’s traffic cap. The airline says that the ball is now in Transport Minister Eamon Ryan’s court.

The airline argues that swift action is necessary to prevent irreversible damage to Ireland’s tourism industry, jobs, and economy.

With the 2024 local elections approaching, Irish citizens have the opportunity to make their voices heard. Ryanair has urged them to support politicians who will prioritize the growth and development of the country’s aviation sector.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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