Saturday 16 December 2017

Departing DAA chief was facing lower salary

London City may not match €612,000 package of last year

John Mulligan

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) boss Declan Collier will need to negotiate a significant hike in pay in his new role as chief executive of London City Airport if he's to receive as much as the €612,000 he was awarded by the DAA last year.

Mr Collier is to leave the DAA next year and take over as the head of London City Airport.

He's departing his often controversial role at the DAA despite the Department of Transport having urged him to remain in the position at a €250,000 salary subsequent to his current contract expiring next April.

Mr Collier was awarded a total of €612,000 at the DAA last year. That included a basic salary of €308,000, €182,000 in pension contributions and taxable benefits, and a €106,000 bonus payment.

A furious political reaction to the bonus payment, especially from Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, eventually prompted Mr Collier to forgo the bonus.

The outgoing chief executive of London City Airport -- Richard Gooding -- was paid a total of £406,000 (€474,000) last year. That was up 6pc on the previous year.

While the package is 54pc more than Mr Collier's basic package last year, it's also a third less than the total Mr Collier was awarded by the DAA. Mr Collier is also a public interest director at Allied Irish Banks. He was paid €40,000 for that role last year.

The Department of Transport has also assured that Mr Collier's replacement will be subject to the new €250,000 cap on semi-state chief executive pay. Mr Varadkar yesterday said that Mr Collier (56) had overseen the DAA through a "challenging period" for the economy that included the construction of the controversial T2 terminal, and said he was sorry to see him go.

Mr Collier said the DAA had a "bright future".

A spokesman at the Department of Transport also said that a new chairman for the DAA would also be revealed in the "next week or two".

The department has been on the hunt for months for a replacement for former incumbent David Dilger, who stepped down in May after run-ins with Mr Varadkar.

London City Airport is significantly smaller than Dublin Airport. It handled 2.8 million passengers last year compared to about 18.5 million at Dublin.

Turnover at London City Airport was £67m (€78.3m) last year and it made a £16.5m (€19.2m) operating profit, down 15pc on the previous year. The DAA reported €558m in turnover last year and a €33m profit.


London City Airport was famously sold by Irish businessman Dermot Desmond in 2006 for £750m (€1.1bn at the time) to a consortium that included AIG, GE Finance and Credit Suisse.

He had bought it in 1995 for less than €35m. Those buyers still own it via two separate vehicles -- Global Infrastructure Partners and Highstar Capital.

Mr Collier, who was appointed CEO at the DAA in 2005 after working with ExxonMobil, will take over at London City Airport as it pitches itself as a key transport hub for the Olympic Games, which the capital hosts next summer.

In the longer term, he'll have to shepherd a controversial expansion plan for the airport, which aims to boost its passenger capacity to eight million by 2030 and double the number of flights.

Irish Independent

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