The DAA sent four senior Dublin Airport executives to Saudi Arabia this year after it won a contract to operate King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
he senior departures come as DAA management struggles to deal with a collapse in passenger screening services that overwhelmed Dublin Airport last weekend.
While some of Dublin Airport’s senior staff now working in Jeddah are from the retail side of the business, they all have key strategic and operational experience. A DAA spokesperson confirmed that four staff members have moved from Dublin Airport to Jeddah, while two have moved from Cork Airport and two from the DAA’s Aer Rianta international arm.
the independent irish has found that among the key departures from Dublin Airport for Saudi Arabia in recent months is David Rooney, who is now operations supervisor at King Abdulaziz Airport.
He was the Airport Operations Center Team Leader at Dublin Airport from April 2019 until last month when he became Operations Supervisor in Jeddah for DAA International.
John Holland, who was the head of retail support functions for Aer Rianta International from the end of 2020 until March this year, is now the director of business strategy and analysis for Jedco, the company behind the Saudi airport and which awarded the contract to the DAA.
At Dublin Airport and Cork Airport, he was responsible for assisting with the recovery of the retail business from the Covid pandemic.
In his LinkedIn post, he notes that his specialties include “strategic planning for large organizations.”
Ian Craig is among the executives now based in Jeddah, where he works as an occupational health and safety manager. He joined the DAA in 2010 and his duties included coordinating the operational response to all “unplanned or extraordinary events” at Terminal 2 and being a “crisis management expert”.
Paul Neeson, who was the head of retail operations at Dublin Airport from 2019 to March this year, is now Jedco’s vice president of commercial for DAA International.
Niall McCarthy, who was managing director of the DAA-controlled Cork Airport from 2012 until April this year, is now seconded to Jedco as vice president of operations.
Earlier this year, Jedco awarded DAA International a five-year contract to operate King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
While Saudi Arabia has an appalling human rights record, the DAA also operates airport facilities in its capital, Riyadh, and has been selected to operate the country’s new Red Sea International Airport due to open later this year.
Separately, Ryanair accused the DAA of having “mismanaged the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis” and said it was “pumping up prices” with the application of airport charges.
He said the DAA is seeking an 88% price increase from 2023 on “already high” airport charges in Dublin.