Dublin airport has opened its €320 million North Runway, some 15 years after planning permission was first granted.

Ryanair was the first carrier to use the airport’s second runway, with the departure of B737 Max 200 flight FR1964 to Eindhoven taking off at midday on August 24.

The airport said that the North Runway would facilitate larger aircraft including the Airbus A380 and Boeing B747-8, as well as adding “much needed extra runway slot capacity for short-haul flights during early morning and late evening peak departure and arrival periods”.

Planning permission for the runway was first granted back in 2007, but the economic downturn in 2008 led to the project being shelved until 2016.

The airport said that the new runway was “critical to Dublin’s growing position as a hub for travel between Europe and North America”, adding that “enhanced connectivity will mean a greater choice of destinations and airlines for business and leisure customers, as well as competitive fares”.

A recent decision by Fingal County Council will allow “limited extended use of the new runway at key late-evening and early-morning busy periods”, along with the replacement of a night-time aircraft movement cap “with a more considered noise management quota system that encourages the use of quieter aircraft”.

Local residents are being offered €20,000 insulation grants to help mitigate increases in noise pollution as a result of the new runway, although some have called the amount “not nearly enough”.

Commenting on the news Hildegarde Naughton TD, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, said:

“The new North Runway will provide much-needed capacity and will enable Dublin Airport to re-build and enhance connectivity to our island, putting Ireland in a strong position to facilitate increased economic activity.

“The new runway is a crucial piece of infrastructure which will enable Dublin Airport to expand and provide the necessary capacity to connect key existing and emerging global markets.”

DAA’s chairman Basil Geoghegan said that following on from the North Runway development “we will progress at pace our planned capital investment programme in a refurbished terminal, new piers, gates, stands and transfer facilities that will ensure a compelling service and lasting legacy for future generations of air travellers in and out of Ireland”.