Dublin Airport will be able to charge airlines €8.68 per passenger next year, a 7% increase on the 2022 limit.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation today published its maximum level of airport charges for 2023 to 2026, setting a price cap on passenger charges in the coming years.

The limit set for next year is lower than what the CAR proposed in its draft decision in July. It is also well below the level daa, the operator of Dublin Airport, had sought.

In its decision CAR said it chose a lower level than in its draft decision, largely due to its improved forecast for passenger growth at the airport in the coming years.

It now expects traffic to recover to pre-pandemic levels in early 2024, reaching 35.7m by 2026.

CAR said it had set the priced based on the best interests of both passengers and airlines.

However it also aimed to facilitate the delivery of high-quality airport services, and investment in more capacity and sustainability projects.

For 2024, CAR has proposed a cap of €9.23, rising to €10.30 in 2025 and €11.73 in 2026.

When based on February 2022 prices - effectively stripping out the impact of inflation - it means a cap of €7.59 for next year.

CAR estimates the price cap will allow Dublin Airport to collect €2.8 billion in revenue over the next four years. Half of that will come from airport charges with the rest coming from other sources including retail and car parking charges.

Reacting to the decision daa said: "The decision disregards the operational lessons learned from Covid-19 and the necessity for even greater staff numbers in key operational areas.

"Despite the almost unanimous call from our passengers, stakeholders and policy makers to mandate daa to recruit even greater numbers at Dublin Airport to further improve the efficiency and quality of passenger experience this appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

"daa has always said that it is vital that passenger charges are set at a level which allows Dublin Airport to meet the challenge of recovering from the Covid pandemic and to deliver a high-quality service.

"While any change in passenger charges has virtually no discernible impact on the price an airline charges for a flight, it has a material effect on the standard of customer service and the level of capacity that Dublin Airport is able to provide as we have repeatedly warned over a number of years."

It added: "daa will now take time over the Christmas and New Year holidays to reflect on CAR's determination.

"However, it is patently clear that CAR’s decision is a major financial obstacle to what our passengers require and deserve."

Ryanair claimed it was a bad day for Irish tourism and said the extra revenue would go towards "unnecessary" investment projects.

"The DAA should be putting less time and money into wasteful vanity projects, like the proposed €200m taxiway tunnel, and instead, use these resources to deliver lower prices, more capacity and better facilities for passengers to be able to get through security without waiting in lengthy queues," said Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson.

"We now call on the incoming DAA CEO, Kenny Jacobs, to review all projects his predecessors promoted in recent years and scrap those which do nothing for service quality for passengers or capacity for the Irish economy, and which only serve to drive up Dublin Airport's revenues at the expense of airline customers and passengers."