Shannon Airport proposals criticised
A LEADING aviation entrepreneur said yesterday that the outcome for Shannon Airport under Government proposals “will be uninteresting, moribund and people losing jobs”.
At an Irish Business Aviation Convention organised by Shannon Airport and Shannon Development at Dromoland Castle yesterday, Domhnal Slattery of Irish aircraft-leasing company Avolon also hit out at the Government move to establish a task force and two steering groups to chart Shannon’s future.
“Committees are a useful forum, but don’t start businesses and are very rarely effective,” Mr Slattery said. In May, the Government announced Shannon would be separated from the Dublin Airport Authority, but remain in public ownership.
The Government has established a steering group and two task forces to deal with issues around Shannon securing independence.
Mr Slattery said while the committees contain some great people “none of them are entrepreneurs”.
The chief executive of Avolon said the Government “has pretended to do something by putting Shannon into an interregnum, but has only kicked the can down the road, made it someone else’s problem and put off the ultimate decision”.
Mr Slattery said the Government should privatise Shannon.
“This blather about Shannon being a strategic asset is a total irrelevancy. Airports that are privately owned all over the world do better than airports that are government owned. Period.”
Addressing delegates earlier, business aviation finance expert Aoife O’Sullivan said that Shannon “is sitting on a goldmine in terms of business aviation”.
Partner with London-based Gates Partners, Ms O’Sullivan said that the business aviation industry is a buoyant one.
“The great thing about this business is that these assets fly and there is no reason why you can’t structure a great business from Shannon, absolutely none.”