Wednesday 28 September 2016

Shannon Group boss Neil Pakey to step down when contract expires next year

Published 22/12/2015 | 14:34

Britain's Prince Charles greets Rose Hynes and Neil Pakey, Shannon Group when he and his wife Camilla arrived at Shannon airport ahead of their official visit to Ireland. Pic: Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
Britain's Prince Charles greets Rose Hynes and Neil Pakey, Shannon Group when he and his wife Camilla arrived at Shannon airport ahead of their official visit to Ireland. Pic: Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.

The chief executive of Shannon Group, Neil Pakey, is to leave his role when his contract expires next year in what could be a big blow for the region. The group is responsible for the operation of Shannon Airport.

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An aviation veteran, Mr Pakey was appointed chief executive of the airport company in May 2013, just five months after it gained independence from the DAA, which now controls Dublin and Cork airports.

Shannon Group controls the airport and other interests including Shannon Heritage.

Shannon Group lauded Mr Pakey in a statement saying that since he joined the company enjoyed a strong performance.

“Neil came on board as CEO at an exciting time for Shannon as it embarked on life as an independent entity and during his tenure many milestones have been achieved,” said Ms Hynes in a statement. “From an airport perspective we have returned Shannon to growth following five years of successive decline and by the end of 2015 passenger numbers will be up by 22pc from where we started out.”

She added:  “We would like to thank Neil for this vital contribution to the revitalisation of Shannon Airport and formation of the wider group. He will leave in June with Shannon Group on a very positive footing, primed for growth, and we now embark on the task of appointing his successor.”

Mr Pakey said in the same statement issued this afternoon that he was looking forward to a new challenge having completed his term.

“I’ve worked with a great management team and a great board and we’ve really transformed the Shannon Group during the past three years,” he said.

“I would like to thank the board for having given me the opportunity as well as for their support during the last three years,” he added. “There’s an exciting future ahead for the group and I wish the board well in recruiting a new CEO to carry on this work.”

Shannon Airport halted five successive years of declines in passenger numbers in 2013, and in 2014 handled 1.64 million passengers, a 17pc rise on 2013. The 2014 increase came on the back of new services at the airport, as it generated more traffic to the United States and Europe.

But in 2015, the figures have been somewhat mixed.

It enjoyed a boost in the first quarter of 2015, as 213,000 passengers used the airport. That was 38pc more than in the corresponding period in 2014.

But since then passenger growth has tapered off significantly, and even declined in April. In July, passenger numbers rose 2.6pc, but fell almost 4pc in August.

Last month, passenger numbers were up 4pc year-on-year at 101,000.

“October was also up so we are keeping the momentum running and will, overall, have a positive 2015,” said Mr Pakey when the figure was released. “This will make it three years in-a-row that we have enjoyed increases at Shannon since the airport was made independent in 2013.”

Before he joined Shannon, Mr Pakey was a senior director at the Vantage Airports group, and had responsibility for 18 airports around the world, in countries including Canada and the UK. Prior to that, he was managing director of Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

 

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