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Thursday 19 October 2017

Airport chief was headhunted to lead shake-up

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Declan Collier , Chief Executive DAA. Photo: David Conachy
Declan Collier , Chief Executive DAA. Photo: David Conachy

Siobhan Creaton

AS chief executive of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), Declan Collier oversaw the opening of Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport.

It was one of the State's largest infrastructure projects, costing €1.2bn and opened for business just as passenger numbers nosedived.

But he argues it is a long-term investment that will prove its worth in the future.

The 55-year-old Dubliner came to the DAA after a career at the oil giant Esso where he was chairman and company manager of its Irish operations and managed parts of its global businesses.

He was headhunted for the chief executive's post in 2005 to lead a major redevelopment at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports and to put the old Aer Rianta on a more commercial footing.

During his reign he has implemented the changes set out by the Government, including a cost-cutting programme that axed hundreds of jobs, reduced pay rates and restructured its operations.

Indeed the scale of the job and pay cuts imposed at the DAA were greater than those adopted by other semi-states like the ESB and Bord Gais at the time because of the financial pressures on the business.

The massive spending on Terminal 2 though has left the company saddled with huge debts expected to rise to about €1bn.

Over the years, he has gone to battle to increase passenger charges that put him on a collision course with Ryanair boss, Michael O'Leary, who is not a fan and disagrees fundamentally with the way the authority conducts its business. Mr Collier has a better relationship with Aer Lingus boss, Christoph Mueller.

The DAA boss is married to Jan, has a teenage daughter, and lives in Ranelagh.

Irish Independent

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