DAA has confirmed that it plans to construct a new runway at Dublin Airport.

The 3,110 metre runway will be built 1.6km north of the existing main runway and is expected to be delivered in 2020.

Dublin Airport is to invest €320m on the project.

The airport received planning permission in August 2007 to build a new runway, but the plans were put on hold due to the economic downturn and a fall in passenger numbers.

However, today's move had been expected after passenger numbers hit a record 25 million last year, beating the previous record of 23 million set in 2008. 

There are expectations that the airport may increase passenger charges to help pay for the new runway.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation capped passenger charges at Dublin at €9.87 for 2016, but has ruled that if passenger numbers reach 25 million, the airport can pass on the cost of building the runway to customers.

"Dublin Airport's north runway will significantly improve Ireland's connectivity supporting trade, foreign direct investment and tourism," commented DAA's chief executive Kevin Toland.

Mr Toland said that driven by demand from airlines and passengers, Dublin Airport's current runway infrastructure is at capacity during the peak hours and this must be addressed to enable future growth. 

"The north runway will significantly improve Ireland's connectivity which plays a critical role in growing passenger numbers and sustaining the future economic development of Ireland," he added.

The proposed new runway has featured in successive Local Area and County Development Plans since the 1970s. 

DAA said that as a result of years of careful planning, land for the development was safeguarded over 40 years ago, so the runway will be delivered within the airport's existing land bank.

Welcoming the announcement, Fáilte Ireland chairman Michael Cawley said an increase in flights to Ireland "underpinned the impressive growth in visitor numbers we have enjoyed over the last few years".

"Dublin airport is a key gateway for Irish tourism and, if we are to enjoy sustained and long-term growth in visitor numbers, we need to plan also for a sustained growth in access."