Restoring Aircoach route from Ballinteer/Terenure to Dublin Airport via M50

AirCoach Dublin

Update March 2024:

The announcement of a Dublin Airport to Terenure route by the company Dublin Express (subsidiary of National Express in UK) is very much welcomed. We would suggest the continuation of the route to at least Templeogue and possibly Tallaght to allow for a greater area coverage similar to what was available with the now discontinued 2011 Aircoach service.

Aircoach is licenced by The National Transport Authority (NTA).  They operate six key services connecting Dublin Airport with Dublin City Centre and its suburbs, as well as non-stop express services.

Proposal to:

  • Restore Aircoach route on M50 from Ballinteer to Dublin Airport which was first launched in April 2011 before being discontinued.
  • We suggest a longer term objective to upgrade the M50 by converting an existing northbound traffic lane between J11-J3 to bus/carsharing only

Route Map:

Ballinteer =>

Dundrum Shopping Centre (Park & Ride) =>

Churchtown =>

Nutgrove Shopping Centre=>

Rathfarnham Castle=>

Terenure =>

Templeogue =>

Spawell (Park & Ride) =>

Blanchardstown Shopping Centre =>

Dublin Airport

  • Passengers boarding and alighting between Ballinteer and Blanchardstown charged standard leap card fares. Supplementary fare for those travelling to Dublin Airport.
  • NTA should facilitate leap card payment on bus for faster onboarding.
  • Will eventually benefit from Templeogue/Rathfarnham Bus Corridor under BusConnects.
  • Addition of a Blanchardstown stop will give residents there direct access to Dublin Airport.


  • Direct connectivity for rest of South Dublin to Dublin Airport
  • Reduce gridlock on the M50 and free up space at airport car park
  • Directly intersect with BusConnects spines, Luas and Park & Ride services
  • Help Ireland meet it’s Climate Goals
  • Reduction in air pollution
  • Reduction in fuel poverty
  • Reduction in noise pollution from M50
  • Gives young people transport independence


Load Factor: A previous Aircoach along this route was ultimately pulled due to poor uptake. A new service would need:

  • Careful marketing and social media strategy to inform public of route availability
  • Addition of route onto TFI Live route planner and Google Maps
  • Add route information to Ryanair and Aer Lingus websites.
  • Use of 90 minute fare for passengers travelling between Ballinteer and Spawell
  • Real-time information at dedicated bus stops
  • Addition of Park & Ride services at locations such as DDTC and Spawell.

Part of the Spawell Car Park could be used as a Park & Ride for new bus routes


  • Park and Ride at Spawell to facilitate larger passenger uptake
  • Contactless payment with leap card speeds up passenger onboarding
  • Dublin Airport could passengers pay an M50 surcharge of just 3 euro
  • Ample space for luggage on provider services
  • Bus Shelters and real-time info at every location
  • Online reservation availability

Speed: The 16 bus route which travels to Dublin Airport has over 60 stops many of which are in busy city centre areas. This takes too much time. The new route would have between 10-15 stops and through the usage of the M50 have a time saving of over 40%. Bus Corridor plan for areas served such as Rathfarnham will help significantly to ease congestion delays on the route.

Route: The decision to run more buses on the M50 has come before scrutiny before in 2018 with one commenting:

It’s easy to run non-stop between two points along the M50, but that’s not how we build our patronage, we have to stop along the way.

— Jarrett Walker – BusConnects Network Re-Design
  • With this route, there will be plenty of stops along the route and once it hits the M50, it will be almost direct between two points except for a stoppage in Blanchardstown.
  • Stops are located mostly close to village centres e.g Dundrum, Rathfarnham which are relatively large population areas.
  • Many other European cities such as Madrid and Copenhagen make frequent use of busy motorways to build their patronage to the airport.

Next Up: Dissecting Dublin’s SUV epidemic


Colm is a Madrid based QA Engineer from Terenure with a passion for sustainable transport. Amongst his motivations for this project, he would like to see Ireland achieve a 'very high' rating in the annual Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), an independent monitoring tool for tracking countries’ climate protection performance.

2 thoughts on “Restoring Aircoach route from Ballinteer/Terenure to Dublin Airport via M50

  1. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!

    Extremely helpful innfo specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such
    information a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a
    very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *