Conditions set for airports’ independence

YOUR leader writer’s contention (Irish Examiner, April 11) that the chairman of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), Gary McGann, has “issued what amounts to an ultimatum” in saying that Cork airport’s independence would be in jeopardy ...

... if the Cork Airport Authority (CAA) failed to pay the debt relating to the recent investment in facilities there misinterprets what he actually said.

Mr McGann stressed the DAA was fully committed to the implementation of the State Airports’ Act 2004, whose principal objective is the establishment, subject to certain preconditions, of separate and stand-alone airports at Dublin, Shannon and Cork.

He went on to remind his immediate and wider audience of the preconditions that must be met before any such decision can be taken.

Firstly, the ministers for finance and transport must be satisfied that each airport can stand alone as a viable entity and, secondly, the DAA requires sufficient distributable reserves to enable it to offer either Shannon or Cork airports, or both, as dividends to the same ministers.

Mr McGann said the detailed business plans required to meet the first precondition had still to be completed in full and that the two principal outstanding issues in this regard related to the appropriate allocation of the debt associated with the redevelopment of Cork airport and the implementation of a comprehensive cost restructuring programme at Shannon airport.

With regard to the second precondition, he outlined that the DAA did not currently have sufficient distributable reserves to offer Shannon and Cork airports as dividends and, depending on a number of variables, it could take some time to build up such reserves.

It was in this context that he noted “there is a direct link between the levels of any residual liability for the Cork airport development retained by the DAA and the amount of distributable reserves held by the DAA”.

In the context of a wider business briefing, Mr McGann presented a clear, objective and factual analysis of the challenges faced by the DAA in implementing the State Airports Act, including those determined by company law.

The DAA has invested considerable time and resources in working with its shareholder and the boards of both the Shannon and Cork airport authorities to address these challenges and, as Mr McGann emphasised, remains fully committed to finding solutions to those challenges.

Vincent Wall

Director of Communications

Head Office

Dublin Airport Authority

Dublin Airport

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