THE chairman of the Shannon Airport Authority has hailed the creation of a new state company to manage the affairs of the airport and make the most out of industrial lands surrounding it.
Draft legislation approved by cabinet last week is expected to become law later this year and create The Shannon Group plc. This company that will drive the government’s ambitions to improve airport passenger figures and develop an international aviation services centre - and create thousands of jobs - on lands formerly owned by Shannon Development.
Rose Hynes, who chairs the SAA, is also expected to chair the new Shannon Group.
“The Government’s approval of the drafting of the Shannon Aviation Services and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2013 is a key step in the merging of Shannon Airport with the extensive property holdings of Shannon Development,” Ms Hynes commented.
“There are exciting times and opportunities ahead for the new Shannon Group. We have already seen signs of this with the first month-over-month passenger numbers growth at Shannon in five years just last month. We have every confidence that the new Shannon Group will be successful and I look forward to the finalisation of the second phase of this merger by year-end.”
Shannon Development is being stripped of its enterprise and tourism functions with most of its 100-plus staff already having transferred to other state bodies. But a small number will continue to be employed by a new company called Shannon Commercial Enterprises, responsible for the commercial property portfolio around the airport.
Both the SAA and Shannon Commercial Enterprises are to have separate boards of directors but Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said last week that he did not expect to see cumbersome management structures at both companies.
“The government very much views it as a single organisation with two divisions,” the minister said.