No official announcement on Shannon Airport plans

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

PLANS to separate Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority were discussed at Cabinet yesterday, but transport minister Leo Varadkar has said he is not yet in a position to make an official announcement on the airport’s future.

PLANS to separate Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority were discussed at Cabinet yesterday, but transport minister Leo Varadkar has said he is not yet in a position to make an official announcement on the airport’s future.

Proposals to form an independent Shannon were discussed, including the intention that the new airport authority begin life debt free, with €100m in debt to be transferred back to the DAA.

Speaking in the Dáil after the meeting, Mr Varadkar confirmed the debt write-down, but said that Aer Rianta International, which is based in Shannon, would remain part of the DAA group.

“For Shannon to have both Aer Rianta International and its debt written off would bring Dublin and Cork into question in terms of their viability, so it was never going to be a case of them being able to have both a debt write off and ARI,” he said.

“A memo was discussed today, (but) I am not in a position yet to make an announcement on it, one or two matters have to be clarified and a few people consulted prior to that, but an announcement will be made in the very near future,” he added.

Earlier this month Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said that the full separation of Shannon from the DAA was to be announced in the next fortnight.

Mr Noonan confirmed that by Christmas the job of the new chief executive of the Shannon Airport Authority will be advertised, while a board for the newly independent airport will be established thereafter.

In recent weeks Shannon has seen the addition of summer services to Faro, Chicago and Philadelphia, while Delta reaffirmed its commitment to summer services to New York JFK.