DAA (Irish company)

DAA (styled "daa"), previously Dublin Airport Authority, is a commercial semi-state airport company in Ireland. The company owns and operates Dublin Airport and Cork Airport. Its other subsidiaries include the travel retail business Aer Rianta International[1] and DAA International.[2]

DAA plc
Founded1937 (as Aer Rianta Teoranta)
HeadquartersDublin Airport,

DAA previously owned and operated Shannon Airport before Shannon Airport became a separate state-owned airport at the end of 2012. The company also owned Great Southern Hotels, which had nine sites throughout the island of Ireland, until its sale in 2006. DAA's head office is located in the original passenger terminal on the grounds of Dublin Airport.


Aer RiantaEdit

Aer Rianta logo until 2004.

Aer Rianta was founded in 1937 as Aer Rianta Teoranta and the name is derived from the Irish language for "air ways" or "air tracks"; Teoranta is the Irish word for Limited. Aer Rianta was to serve as a holding company for the national airline and to promote aviation generally.

In 1947, Aer Rianta started the duty-free shop concept in the Shannon Airport and are credited with the invention of duty-free shops in airports.[3] Aer Rianta was the principal shareholder of Aer Lingus during the airline's early days, until 1966.[4]

Aer Rianta began managing the Dublin Airport in the 1940s.[4] Under the Air Navigation and Transport Act of 1950, Aer Rianta was given legal responsibility for the airport.[4] In 1954, Prof. Patrick Lynch was appointed chairman of Aer Rianta.[5] He retired from the position in 1975.[6]

In 1966, the passage of the Air Companies Act enabled the transfer of Aer Lingus shares to the Minister of Finance, and separate boards were appointed to each company. A general manager of Aer Rianta was appointed in 1968. On 1 April 1969, Cork and Shannon Airports became the responsibility of the company.

In 1988, Aer Rianta International (ARI) was created to pursue international potential to the company's growth not related to Irish airport management – for example, opening Russia's first duty free in Moscow in 1988. In 1998, Aer Rianta Teoranta became Aer Rianta cpt and kept this name until 2004.

Dublin Airport Authority/DAAEdit

In 2004, the Oireachtas passed the State Airports Act, 2004. This renamed Aer Rianta cpt as Dublin Airport Authority plc, and established Shannon Airport Authority plc and Cork Airport Authority plc. The three new authorities have power to formulate business plans for their respective airports, however they will not take charge of running the airports until further date to be determined by the Minister for Transport, which by law would not be before 1 May 2005. As of 2008 this had yet to take place. Significant outstanding issues to be resolved include competitiveness and debit restructuring.

The company also retains its significant shareholdings in foreign airports such as Düsseldorf and Larnaca, through its wholly owned subsidiary ARI, Aer Rianta International.

The State Airports Act was heavily criticised by Noel Hanlon, the outgoing chairman of Aer Rianta, and by the company's unions, who believed it a precursor to privatisation. No act to privatise Dublin Airport Authority or any of the airports has been passed however.

The Dublin Airport Authority was officially renamed DAA with effect from November 2014.[7]

In 2016, DAA paid a €18.3m dividend to the State, its first since 2009.[8]In May 2018, Basil Geoghegan was named chairman of the company.[9] In January 2023, Kenny Jacobs was appointed as its CEO.[10]

Great Southern HotelsEdit

In 1990, the nine Great Southern Hotels were purchased from Córas Iompair Éireann, and sold again in 2006. Edward Holdings, a company controlled by Galway businessman Gerry Barrett bought the Killarney, Eyre Square and Corrib hotels, while Dublin developer Bernard McNamara has bought the Parknasilla hotel in County Kerry. A company controlled by Ronan McArdle, Frank McArdle, Alan McIntosh and the Walsh brothers has acquired the three airport hotels at Dublin, Cork and Shannon.[11]

Airports and operationsEdit

Dublin AirportEdit

Dublin Airport is the state's largest airport. It handled 31.5m passengers in 2018.[12]

A court case arose in 2014 regarding a proposed contract to be let by daa for a range of airport facilities services at Dublin Airport. OCS One Complete Solution, the incumbent contractor, challenged the daa's decision to award a new contract to Maybin Support Services Ltd., which led to a High Court hearing. Provisions under EU utilities procurement regulations, which include procurement in the transport sector, require an option for unsuccessful tenderers to be able to challenge an award decision if they have suitable grounds and provide for an automatic suspension of the new contract award process until the challenge has been resolved. This was the first occasion when the High Court ruled on a request for this automatic suspension to be lifted. The court ruled in favour of leaving the suspension in place.[13]

Cork AirportEdit

  • Cork Airport is the state's second largest airport.
  • Handled 2.3 million passengers in 2017.[12]

Other operationsEdit

Aer Rianta International operates travel retail/duty free outlets in 10 countries, with stores in countries such as Canada, Cyprus, India and New Zealand.[14] It also has outlets in several countries in the Middle East and in 2015 won a 10-year contract to operate duty-free stores at the new Midfield Terminal Building in Abu Dhabi International Airport.[15]

In 2016, DAA International won the contract to manage the new Terminal 5 at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.[16]

Dublin Airport DelaysEdit

On 1 June 2022, then daa chief executive Dalton Philips was called to appear before the Oireachtas transport committee.[17] following multiple days of prolonged queues, more than 1,000 passengers missing a flight in one day and providing no guarantee that such queues would not return was described by Minister of State in the Department of Finance, Seán Fleming as a "reflection of bad management, full stop". The Taoiseach said the delays are "unacceptable for passengers and their families."[18]

In May 2021, Philips had defended the decision to lay off 2,000 of daa's 7,750 staff, despite the State backstop in place at the time as necessary stating "if you had that [bailout] mentality, it’s all over...we have to carry our own water." The decision to fire so many staff was criticised in June 2022 in Dáil Éireann, with deputies claiming that the resultant airport delays had made Ireland in to a "laughing stock".[17]


  1. ^ Deegan, Gordon. "Aer Rianta International declares dividend of €100m". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 20 December 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  2. ^ Hamilton, Peter. "DAA on long-list to operate St Louis international airport". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 9 March 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  3. ^ Chevalier, Michel (2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9.
  4. ^ a b c Forsyth, Peter; Gillen, David; Muller, Jurgen; Niemeier, Hans-Martin (23 March 2016). Airport Competition: The European Experience. Routledge. pp. 501–502. ISBN 978-1-317-18288-7.
  5. ^ "Top Irish economist Patrick Lynch dies". independent. Archived from the original on 22 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Niall pioneers definitive book on national airline". independent. Archived from the original on 2 March 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Name Change Takes Effect At daa". Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  8. ^ John Mulligan. "DAA unions 'sharpen scalpel' on pay talks as dividend is revealed". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 18 September 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  9. ^ O'Halloran, Barry. "Basil Geoghegan set to become chairman of DAA". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Kenny Jacobs Appointed As Chief Executive Officer At daa". Archived from the original on 7 December 2022. Retrieved 27 January 2023.
  11. ^ "Seven Great Southern Hotels sold for €265m". rte.ie. 24 August 2006. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Table 1: Number of passengers handled by main airports, Quarter 4 and Year 2015-2017". Central Statistics Office. Archived from the original on 8 October 2018. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  13. ^ High Court of Ireland, OCS One Complete Solution Ltd. v Dublin Airport Authority PLC, [2014] IEHC 306, delivered 30 May 2014, accessed 28 November 2022
  14. ^ "ARI Worldwide Locations". Archived from the original on 18 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Aer Rianta International Group (ARI) wins duty free contract at Abu Dhabi International Airport".[dead link]
  16. ^ "DAA wins contract for Riyadh airport". Irish Times. 22 February 2016. Archived from the original on 3 April 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  17. ^ a b "Dublin Airport chaos 'a reflection of bad management'". 1 June 2022. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ "Dublin Airport chaos 'a reflection of bad management'". 1 June 2022. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External linksEdit