Siptu has condemned a call by Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavangh for the State to look at the privatisation of the terminals at Irish airports.
The union said it supports the maintenance of key infrastructural assets within State ownership and opposes the call by Aer Lingus to consider selling publicly owned airport terminals to private interests.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Kavanagh argued that there is “no reason” why the State should continue to own terminals at airports including Dublin, adding that privatised infrastructure would be operated even more efficiently.
“You can separate runways and terminals,” he said in the interview here. “I think runways are of strategic importance, particularly for an open economy as Ireland is”, adding that “there continues to be a role for some regulatory or State involvement”.
Siptu Transport, Energy, Aviation and Construction Division Organise Gregg Ennis, said: “These State owned and operated airport terminals have been hugely successful.
“The sacrifices made by thousands of airport terminal employees over recent years led initially to the stabilising of the operation of Dublin Airport and laid the ground for its current record year-on-year growth. More than 28 million passengers used the facility in 2016, resulting in major dividends being paid by the Dublin Airport Authority to the State.”
He claimed: “The Aer Lingus CEO’s positioning on this matter is a further example of the agenda of some to drive down the terms and conditions of workers employed across several state owned transport companies. Such moves will not be tolerated by Siptu members in our State-owned airports.”
Dublin and Cork airports are operated by the semi-state DAA, while Shannon operates as an independent, State-owned facility.
Mr Kavanagh acknowledged that the terminals were doing well but said there was room for change. “There’s no reason why the State needs to own the terminals. It’s not to say they are doing a bad job of it. The competitive dynamic in the provision of most services ends up with a more efficient solution.”