Road Warrior: Blocking a merger and gathering more awards

Who would have expected that it would be the Chinese who would slow down the progress of the world’s largest hotel merger, between Marriott and Starwood? Is it payback time for Anbang, the Chinese Insurance Group dropping out of the merger contest in March? An extension of the regulatory review period has been agreed at the request of the Chinese minister of commerce. It had been hoped to close the Chinese review period on August 9th but it now looks set to continue for up to 60 days more. China is the final country yet to approve the $13.6 billion merger.

Passenger numbers at Dublin continue to grow

Dublin Airport is breaking records all round in the past year so much so that it will soon need a new trophy wall. The latest this week is the “Fastest-growing major airport this year”, according to data from Airports Council International ACI Europe, the trade association for European Airports. Passenger numbers at Dublin increased by 13.4 per cent in the first half of this year, making it the leading performer among the top tier of those airports with more than 25 million passengers.

In the first six months of this year traffic at Dublin Airport grew faster than at Barcelona’s El-Prat Airport (+12.7 per cent) Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (+12.0 per cent), Copenhagen Airport (+10.9 per cent) and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam (+9.9 per cent). The figures for Dublin Airport coincide with the 13 per cent announced by Tourism Ireland this week as the increase in overseas tourists for the first half of the year. The average growth across European airports was 4.9 per cent in the first half of the year, with airports in the European Union reporting stronger average passenger growth of 6.2 per cent, according to ACI Europe.

The traffic report, which covers 215 airports, is the only air transport report that includes all types of civil aviation, comprising passenger flights to and from Europe on full service, low cost, charter airlines and others.

On the back of the strong figures from ACI Europe on the strong passenger growth at Dublin Airport, Dublin Chamber of Commerce is urging the Government to bring forward the construction of Metro North. According to Aebhric McGibney, Director of public and international affairs at the chamber: “Growth levels at Dublin Airport continue to surprise on the upside. The challenge now is to ensure that Dublin Airport is equipped for further growth in the coming years.” Earlier in the year, Dublin Airport brought forward plans to build a new north runway at the airport. Planning had been granted in 2007 and shelved in 2009 during the economic downturn. Work will begin next year.

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