Diarmuid Ó Conghaile appointed State’s new aviation regulator

Current CEO of Ryanair subsidiary Malta Air will be responsible for safety and consumer protection

Diarmuid Ó Conghaile is currently chief executive of Ryanair Holdings subsidiary, Malta Air. Photograph: Ryanair

Diarmuid Ó Conghaile is currently chief executive of Ryanair Holdings subsidiary, Malta Air. Photograph: Ryanair

 

Senior Ryanair figure Diarmuid Ó Conghaile is set to become the State’s new air travel regulator from January as the Government moves to shake up supervision of the industry.

Mr Ó Conghaile is currently chief executive of Ryanair Holdings subsidiary, Malta Air, which has 120 of the group’s aircraft from a total of 450, and is responsible for its Maltese, French, German and Italian bases.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan confirmed on Monday that Mr Ó Conghaile had been appointed as the new aviation regulator with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). He will take up the role in January.

His appointment means Mr Ó Conghaile will ultimately be responsible for regulating aviation safety and security along with protecting consumers.

The IAA regulates safety and is also responsible for air traffic control and navigation through the Republic’s skies.

Another body, the Commission for Aviation Regulation, oversees consumer protection, which includes overseeing airlines, travel agents and setting passenger charges for the State’s biggest airport, Dublin.

New organisation

The Government plans to consolidate safety regulation with consumer protection in a new organisation of which Mr Ó Conghaile will be chief executive.

At the same time, it will establish a separate body to manage air traffic control and navigation. The IAA charges for these services, earning almost €200 million a year in revenues up to 2019.

Mr Ryan said Mr Ó Conghaile would play a critically important role in splitting the IAA’s safety and air navigation services ahead of becoming chief executive of the newly merged air travel regulator.

The Minister committed to publishing the legislation needed for the shake-up as soon as possible. He added that the Government would prioritise it for the Dáil’s autumn session.

The IAA’s board appointed Mr Ó Conghaile. He was selected for the job following a competition run by the State’s Public Appointments Service.

Both Mr Ryan and Minister of State for Transport Hildegarde Naughton congratulated Mr Ó Conghaile on his appointment.