By Gordon Deegan
Half of all the people working at the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) now earn over €100,000, according to its accounts.
The growing pay and pensions bill and other costs contributed to a 20% drop in pre-tax profits to €31.1m, as revenues fell slightly to €193.4m.
The authority’s annual report shows that 328 staff earn over €100,000, while 154 earn over €125,000.
Some 174 staff earned between €100,000 and €125,000.
The pay of former chief executive Eamonn Brennan jumped 25% to €429,000, in his final year with the authority.
The pay included €81,000 “in full and final settlement of all matters arising from his employment with the IAA” after Mr Brennan voluntarily waived 10% of his salary since 2009 because of the economic crisis.
Mr Brennan subsequently handed back the €81,000 payment.
His pay last year included €232,000 in basic pay, €147,000 in other benefits, and €50,000 in pension contributions.
Mr Brennan has since taken charge at Europe’s air safety and navigation body, Eurocontrol.
The accounts show that at a board meeting on March 23, it proposed to pay a dividend of €19.5m to the Government.
The €19.5m dividend includes a special dividend “made possible by the IAA’s success in managing its business effectively and efficiently”.
IAA paid a dividend of €9.2m last year and a payout of €7.4m in the previous year.
The authority’s staff costs increased from €86.8m to €89.77m.
Staff numbers increased from 652 to 666, of which 450 people work in operations and 100 people work in safety regulation.
Explaining the increase in higher costs, the report says that around half is accounted for by higher staff costs from an increased head-count and pay increases under the 2015 to 2019 agreement.
So-called en route revenues of €120.2m accounted for the large block of revenues from services for aircraft that don’t land in Ireland.
It paid fees of €9.74m to Met Éireann.