Outgoing DAA chief executive to take up position at London airport

DEPARTING chief executive of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), Declan Collier is resigning tomanage an airport where passenger levels were 12% of those at DAA airports last year.

The announcement by the DAA of Mr Collier’s decision not to renew his contract in April and take up the role of London City Airport’s chief executive comes five months after he opted to forego a bonus of €106,000 following a confrontation between Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar and the DAA board.

In place since April 2005, Mr Collier received a salary of €308,000 last year. The DAA is also currently without a chairman, following David Dilger’s decision to resign in May.

In a statement, Mr Collier said: “Despite the current difficult economic environment, I know that by delivering the facilities required for future growth and by rigorously managing its costs, DAA has a bright future ahead and I wish it every success.”

Last year, London City Airport recorded 2.78 million passengers, compared to 22.6 million going through the Ireland’s three DAA airports. London City airport plans to expand its numbers to eight million.

Mr Varadkar said yesterday that was “sorry to see Mr Collier go”, stating that he had overseen the construction of Terminal 2. His department stated that a new DAA chairman will be announced shortly.

Ryanair are long-time critics of Mr Collier, and their spokesman Stephen McNamara said yesterday: “Perhaps his departure will finally bring about the break-up of the high cost DAA airport monopoly which has inflicted such uncompetitive costs, gold plated facilities and record traffic declines on Irish tourism in recent years.”

Meanwhile, Shannon Airport’s future will see it taken over by local public sector authorities in the mid-west region, according to Clare County Council, which has made a pitch for public sector management of the airport to consultants, Booz & Co.

In its submission, Clare Co Council is advocating that the airport should remain within state ownership while vesting authority for the operation of the facility in local public sector authorities, who could involve regional private sector interest or concessions for operational service.

Mr Varadkar has commissioned the consultancy firm to produce a report on the future for the loss-making Shannon and Cork airports.

Coinciding with Clare’s councillors endorsing local public sector involvement in Shannon, the mayor of Cork County Council, Cllr Tim Lombard (FG) said yesterday in his own submission to be lodged with the consultants, he will be calling for local autonomy for Cork airport.

He said: “Local authorities in the area should have a role in managing the airport. That is the European model. But it is very, very important that the airport under local management is not saddled with the €100 million debt it has. It would be unsustainable if that was the case.”

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