Business Irish

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Bumpy ride awaits new boss

WATERFORD Airport is to begin the hunt for a new chief executive following news that incumbent Graham Doyle is leaving to take up a government position.

The new recruit will have his or her work cut out for them. Despite the fact that Waterford Airport receives around €1m in state funding each year, it has been dogged by rumours of closures.

One of the biggest challenges facing the successful applicant will be finding a replacement for the Waterford-London route. Aer Arann/Aer Lingus pulled out of its Southend and Luton services from the regional airport at the start of the year.

Though Flybe recently resumed its Waterford-Manchester route and also flies to Birmingham from Waterford, some say the airport's future is uncertain without a London route.

It's not a route to be sniffed at – this was the first flight flown by a fledgling little airline called Ryanair in 1985, on a 15-seater plane.

Waterford Airport bosses would likely throw the party of the century if Ryanair ever returned to the transport hub, but given Michael O'Leary's repeated criticisms of regional airports – at one point he called their prospects "bleak" – The Punt advises the new boss not to hold his/her breath.

Outgoing chief executive Mr Doyle has led the airport for the last six and a half years. His new gig will see him take on the role of assistant secretary at the Department of Transport, dealing with the joys of ports, trains and roads as well as air travel. We wish him well.

Irish Independent

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