State poised to split Shannon from DAA

 

The Government is poised to announce within the next few days that it is splitting Shannon airport from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).

Ministers Leo Varadkar and Richard Bruton have been working since May on a plan to combine the airport with State body Shannon Development’s industrial land bank and separate it from the Dublin authority.

In the Dáil yesterday Mr Varadkar, the Minister for Transport, said that the Cabinet had discussed a memo on the proposals, and that he would be making an announcement in the very near future.

A spokesman for his department confirmed that this was likely to be in the next few days.The split has been widely anticipated.

It emerged recently that the Government was due to decide on the plan by the end of this month, and that Shannon airport would be split from the DAA, which has been responsible for the airport since 2004, by the end of the year.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil that once it was separated Shannon would be able to set its own charges, which he said should assist in getting new business.

The DAA’s overseas duty-free arm, Aer Rianta International, which made €35 million profits last year, will remain with the authority, the Minister said.

He pointed out that the duty-free company’s plans mean it would have to spend €60 million in the next couple of years.

“It can only do that, it can only do its business when it has the big balance sheet of the DAA to borrow against,” he said.

Shannon Airport will have its debt to the DAA written off.

Mr Varadkar pointed that if the airport authority was also to lose Aer Rianta International then that could threaten its viability.