SHANNON Airport is to be separated from the Dublin Airport Authority, the Government confirmed today.
But Cork Airport will remain under Dublin management, according to the plans.
The airport will be merged together with Shannon Development to form a new entity while the latter's functions in relation to indigenous enterprise and foreign direct investment will transfer to Enterprise Ireland and IDA respectively.
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said the decision represented a new beginning for the Shannon region, involving a drive to develop a world-class aviation industry in Shannon, and a restructuring of tourism and enterprise support agencies in the region to support this goal.
The new entity will work closely with the IDA and Enterprise Ireland to develop the potential of the aviation sector, and will explore other opportunities with those agencies for further prospective investments in the region, he added.
The tourism functions of Shannon Development, including Regional Tourism Offices, will transfer to Fáilte Ireland.
It is understood that the Cabinet yesterday gave the green light to the plans following recommendations by consultants.
The loss-making airport is saddled with an estimated €100m in debt.
Traffic at the airport has halved in the past few years to about 1.6 million people annually.
“Today’s announcement is an important start, but more work remains to be done to deliver on the potential of this proposal and we will press forward immediately with the necessary work," said Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton.
"I am convinced that with the right commitment from Government and hard work from all stakeholders, we can create new businesses, new jobs and a new future for the Shannon region”.
Ryanair has lobbied hard in the past to have the DAA broken up and privatised.