Shannon to split from DAA control

Wed, May 9, 2012, 01:00

THE GOVERNMENT will today announce plans to split Shannon Airport from the control of the Dublin Airport Authority.

It is understood the Cabinet yesterday gave the move the go-ahead in principle following a proposal from Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar.

The loss-making airport in Co Clare will remain in public ownership but is expected to be merged with parts of Shannon Development, the mid-west’s version of the IDA. Precise details of the structure of the entity that will run the airport have yet to be finalised.

Sources indicated last night that a group of experts might be asked to advise on a structure and draw up a business plan for the airport.

A number of issues need to be worked out, including how the airport’s debts – estimated at €100 million – will be split between Shannon and the DAA.

No comment was available last night from either the Department of Transport or the DAA.

The move to separate Shannon from the DAA follows a recommendation in December from consultants.

Shannon’s traffic has halved in recent years to about 1.6 million annually. Shannon’s separation is likely to be welcomed by Ryanair, which has lobbied hard for many years for the DAA to be broken up and privatised.

The DAA will continue to run Dublin and Cork airports.