Dublin Airport is planning to introduce charges for people who wish to pick up and drop off passengers by car.
The proposal would see a new paid "Drop Off and Pick Up" zone system in place in front of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.
This aim of this is to reduce the number of car journeys to and from the airport and to encourage passengers to make greater use of public transport.
A spokesperson for the Dublin Airport Authority said the system "will not be introduced during the current COVID pandemic".
However, they added that "works will take place shortly if the project receives approval from the planning authorities".
The income generated from the paid zone will be "ring-fenced" and invested "in a series of sustainability initiatives" at the airport.
Similar paid zones are already in Cork and Belfast airports, as well as in others in Britain and Europe.
System 'abused for years'
The DAA says a free drop-off and pick-up option will continue to be available after the new zones have been introduced "by using a new dedicated area in the Express Red long-term car park".
Additionally, "a new reduced fee 30-minute parking period" will also be introduced at Dublin Airport’s short-term car parks.
The spokesperson added that a planning application for the zone has been lodged with Fingal County Council.
They said that while private cars are currently permitted to drop off in front of both terminals at Dublin Airport, they are not allowed to pick up passengers, meaning the system "has been abused by some for several years".
According to data from the DAA, in 2006, 44% of people used private cars to access the airport, but this had fallen to 32% by 2019.
Louise O'Reilly, a Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Fingal, said the plans could cause issues for many.
She said: "I've been contacted by constituents who are not best pleased about this announcement.
"They see it as potentially leading to congestion because instead of people of going into the airport will drop passengers on the outside.
"We also have a situation whereby huge parts of the country and indeed the city and Dublin county that are not served by a direct bus link to Dublin Airport."
Main image: A passenger wearing a mask as he leaves Dublin Airport in June. Picture by: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie