The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) says that, last year, it recorded a very strong financial performance with operating profits increasing by 15.5% to €29.7m.
The authority’s newly published 2014 annual report also shows a 2% increase in revenue to €177.4m. Chief executive Eamonn Brennan said in the report that the financial performance was very strong.
The jump in profits was on the back of the number of flights in Irish airspace last year increasing by 2.7% to 937,537, with the largest proportion being flights between Europe and north America. Some 90% of transatlantic air traffic passes through Irish-controlled airspace.
The IAA recorded pre-tax profits of €129m last year after the authority booked an exceptional pension gain of €102m. Chairwoman Anne Nolan said the IAA has taken corrective action to its pension situation “which will see no pension increases for the foreseeable future”.
Mr Brennan said “difficult decisions have needed to be made in order to protect the solvency of the [pension] schemes”.
However, he said, the IAA’s pension deficit rose from €113.8m at the end of 2013 to €132.4m at the end of last year. The annual report shows that the overall remuneration for Mr Brennan last year totalled €344,000 — made up of a basic salary of €232,000, pension contributions of €50,000 and taxable benefits of €62,000.
Mr Brennan’s total remuneration was marginally down on the €352,000 he received in 2013. A note attached to the accounts states that Mr Brennan has voluntarily waived 10% of his salary each year from 2009 to 2014 and has waived his board fees since 2011.
The report also states that the IAA has paid no bonuses to Mr Brennan since 2010. Staff across the authority are well paid with salary costs, including pension contributions for its 659 employees — including 20 students — totalling €66.5m, or on average €99,547 each.
At the end of December, the IAA had 432 staff in operations, 68 in technology and training, 92 in safety regulation, 57 in finance, corporate affairs and other areas along with 20 students.
The report reveals that, in a post-balance sheet event, the IAA board at a meeting on March 27 proposed the payment of a dividend for 2014 of €6.5m to the Government.
That represented a 35% increase on the €4.8m dividend paid in 2013.
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