Neil McDonnell.

FTA Ireland has welcomed plans for a new runway at Dublin Airport but says more must be done to improve transport links for passengers.

The €320m project will see a second landing strip built 1.6km north of the existing runway by 2020. Plans were first approved in 2007 but were put on hold due to the economic downturn.

The airport, which handled a record 25m passengers in 2015, is in the unusual position of being the city’s only civil airport. Belfast, with a metropolitan population half the size of Dublin’s, has two airports but it is unlikely that another could be built, so making efficient useof the Dublin Airport campus is vital.

Neil McDonnell, general manager of FTA Ireland said the airport’s passenger transfer facilities needed to be improved – taxi and bus services are good but there is no rail service. An underground link to Terminal 1 was planned but never built.

Mr McDonnell said: “The Department of Transport now needs to follow through on the good work being carried out by the DAA by providing an efficient rail link to Dublin’s DART, Inter-city and light rail networks. At present, Dublin Airport is entirely dependent on road transport to move its passengers – this needs to change.”

Mr McDonnell said FTA Ireland was aware of the concerns of residents of the Portmarnock area over the runway plans but believed a satisfactory resolution was possible.

The latest announcement is in addition to recent plans for changes to Dublin Airport’s fuel supply and tank management systems, which include modernising the tank-farm and supplying the airport by pipeline rather than road. This will remove thousands of unnecessary truck movements from Dublin’s roads every year.