Plans by airport operator daa to install a new paid drop-off and pick-up zone at Dublin Airport have suffered a major setback.

It follows Fingal County Council refusing planning permission to daa to install the infrastructure and change the internal roadwork at the airport to allow the scheme proceed.

daa is proposing that the new paid drop-off and pick-up zones would operate in front of terminals one and two in a bid to reduce car journeys to and from the facility and stop private drivers picking up passengers outside the terminals.

The airport authority had been planning to carry out the necessary works during the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic impact on airport business when it would cause least disruption to the airport.

As part of the scheme, a free drop-off and pick-up option will still be available at the express red long-term car park.

However, Ryanair lodged an objection against the plans with its consultants, BMA Planning arguing that the proposals will have a negative impact on customer experience and have an additional financial cost on passengers.

Now, the council has refused planning permission after concluding that one aspect of the proposed development "would pose a significant risk to human safety".

The council made this finding due to what it called the nature of the proposed waiting/holding and short term parking use and the likely density of people present at any given time within the Outer Public Safety Zone at the airport.

The council also refused planning permission after finding that the associated loss of long term car-parking from the development would materially contravene an objective in the Dublin Airport Local Area Plan.

A daa spokesman said today: "The safety and security of passengers and staff is always daa's main priority. daa does not compromise on safety and would never lodge a planning application which it felt was unsafe in any way."

Consultants for daa told the council that the proposals "will contribute towards improved efficiency of landslide operations, specifically the movement of vehicular traffic at Dublin Airport".

The operation of the paid drop off and pick up zone is based on Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras with plates read at entry and exit and the charge dictated by the time spent by the driver in the drop off zone.

In the Ryanair objection, BMA Planning told the council that the airline "find it difficult to understand the problem which the application purports to be resolving and if the extent of the measures are necessary".

It is now open to daa to appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála.