Plans near take-off to split Shannon from Dublin body
PLANS TO separate Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority are gathering momentum. The two Government-appointed task forces set up in June to advise on the break-up of Shannon Development and the merger of its various parts with Shannon Airport, and the IDA and Fáilte Ireland gave presentations yesterday afternoon to the Cabinet sub-committee on infrastructure.
This group is chaired by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and comprises all senior Ministers.
It is not clear what precisely their recommendations will be but it seems that they have got indications from existing entities that they would be prepared to locate new business in Shannon and create additional jobs if the right structure is put in place.
For the airport, the future is about more than new air routes. It’s as much about sweating the industrial landbank around the airport and developing sustainable aviation-related industries.
A push is on locally for a formal decision from Government by the end of November and for separation by the end of the year.
These are ambitious targets, especially given the pace at which Government departments and the Civil Service normally operate.
There are a lot of moving parts to Shannon’s separation from the DAA and its merger with the landbank of Shannon Development.
At least the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar seems to be on the same page. Earlier this month, Varadkar said he wanted to appoint the board of the new entity and start recruiting a chief executive by the end of the year.
So seven years after the idea was first floated by the late Séamus Brennan, the separation of Shannon Airport might finally be about to become a reality.
This will delight the mid-west lobby and, I suspect, the DAA.