Update on the development of the new Shannon Airport Authority.

February 19th, 2013 - Pat Breen

Dáil Question
No:

To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the development of the new Shannon Airport Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. - Pat Breen.

For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 19th February, 2013

Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
Leo Varadkar

REPLY

Shannon Airport was separated from the Dublin Airport Authority on 31st December last and the assets and business of the airport were transferred from the DAA to the Shannon Airport Authority.

My Department is working in conjunction with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on the Heads of the new Bill to provide for the merger of the airport with a restructured Shannon Development in a new, commercial, State-owned entity and this legislation will be advanced during the first half of this year. When the Heads of the Bill are ready, they will be referred to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport for their consideration prior to drafting.

Last month I appointed Rose Hynes as Chairman of the SAA. On 23rd January last, prior to her appointment, Ms Hynes appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications and outlined some of the challenges and opportunities facing the company. In that context I might add that I expect her to take on the role of Chairman designate for the New Co which is in the processo of being established.

A process to recruit a Chief Executive for the Shannon Airport Authority and the new Shannon entity is currently underway and I intend making further appointments to the board of the SAA shortly.

As Ms Hynes has already pointed out, the serious downward trajectory in passenger numbers at Shannon over the past five years must be halted as a priority, and then reversed. While it is clearly early days, a number of airlines have announced plans for new or expanded services which augers well for the newly independent airport. To date, none of these have been displaced from other airport which is encouraging.

In the meantime both I and my colleague, Minister Bruton, have written to the Chairmen of the SAA and Shannon Development requesting that they and their management teams work closely together over the coming months to ensure an orderly transition to the establishment of the new Shannon entity. In this regard also, Minister Bruton appointed Ms Hynes to the board of Shannon Development last week and some further common appointments will be made to the boards of the SAA and Shannon Development to maximise synergies between the two ahead of the merger.