Europe

Terminal 2 opens at Dublin Airport

Terminal 2
Image caption The new T2 building at Dublin Airport

Dublin Airport's newest terminal T2 opened its runway for the first time on Friday.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen took a brief break from turbulent economic talks to officially open the 600m euros (£512m) facility.

He said he was delighted passengers will "get to enjoy the new state of the art facilities" at the terminal.

As Mr Cowen lead the opening ceremony Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary staged a protest outside T2.

Dressed as an undertaker, Mr O'Leary escorted a tricolour bedecked coffin to the terminal bearing the words "RIP Irish Tourism".

The budget airline boss has strongly criticised the project, which he says has cost more than double the figure put forward by the Irish government.

When asked if he was showing disrespect to the Irish national emblem Mr O'Leary said: "It is Irish tourism that is going to be buried today as a government-owned bunch of bureaucrats open a €1.2 billion palace that Irish tourism doesn't need and can't afford."

Mr Cowen said that the Irish government has set the goal of increasing tourist numbers to 8m by 2015 and the new terminal "will be part of that drive to improve international access and boost visitor numbers".

While the first official flight arrived at T2 at 11am Friday, airlines that are using the new terminal will begin transferring their services to the facility from next Tuesday.

Aer Lingus said it expects to operate a range of flights into and out of the terminal, as it prepares for a full transfer of scheduled operations from January.

The airline said during this period all Aer Lingus departing passengers should present at Terminal 1 as normal, unless advised otherwise by the airline.

Next Tuesday Etihad will join Aer Lingus with its long haul flights to Abu Dhabi.

Ryanair will not be moving to the new terminal.

The facility has the capacity to cater for up to 15m passengers with 54 check in desks.

The building took three years to construct, and more than 1,000 jobs are expected to be created.

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