The appointment of a new chief executive of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has been broadly welcomed in Cork, with interested parties saying his strong background in retail and services will complement the county’s airport growth strategy.
Dalton Philips will take up the role in October for seven years, succeeding Kevin Toland whose departure was announced in May. Cork Airport is under the authority of the DAA, as well as Dublin Airport.
Insiders within the DAA described Mr Philips as having a strong background in retail, especially in the marketing side.
Cork Chamber chief executive Conor Healy said he hoped Mr Philips would expand on the successful growth of Cork Airport in recent years.
“We had a very positive relationship with Mr Toland and significant progress was made. We look forward to working with the new chief executive to further develop, grow and invest in Cork Airport. It is hugely important for business and tourism in Munster, not just Cork. Passenger growth leads to new routes,” he said.
Chief executive of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, Eoghan O’Mara Walsh said Cork’s growth of 8% in the past year was testament to its value.
“The DAA has a duty to expand both Dublin and Cork, and we look forward to that under the new chief executive. Cork is obviously the gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way, and there is so much potential there,” he said.
Cork Airport managing director Niall MacCarthy said Mr Philips was a welcome appointment.
“He has a strong international private sector commercial background and we look forward to working with him in the continuing turnaround of Cork Airport. We have seen very strong support from DAA Plc in recent years and this has been critical to that turnaround,” he said.
Dublin Airport was the fastest growing major European airport in 2016 when it handled nearly 28 million passengers, while numbers at Cork Airport increased by 8% to 2.2 million.
Numbers out in the coming days are expected to confirm Cork as the fastest growing airport in Ireland.
Mr Philips has held a number of senior leadership roles in retail and related industries, working in 14 countries for companies including Walmart, Canada’s leading retailer Loblaw and UK supermarket Morrisons and a stint as chief executive of Brown Thomas.
DAA chairman Pádraig Ó Ríordáin, said: “His leadership will be critical to DAA as we address the challenges of Brexit and the delivery of the north runway at Dublin Airport, while maintaining growth of our airports and international businesses.”
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