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Challenges await newchief of Aer Lingus

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — As a new boss was appointed to Aer Lingus, bumper peak holiday period traffic was reported for Dublin Airport with 1.33 million passengers in August — the fourth consecutive month that monthly throughput exceeded one million people.

The top airline job went to a company insider Garry Cullen, 53, who has been chief of operations of Aer Lingus and has worked with the airline for 30 years.

He has been director of operations in the air division, general manager in the cargo division, and helped set up the LIAT airline in Antigua in the West Indies. He also was deeply involved in setting up the service to regional airports in Ireland and Britain.

The Wicklow-born Cullen now faces the immediate task of negotiating a link-up with strategic international partners, the favorites being Delta and Swissair.

The government has given the company the go-ahead for a link-up now that the troubled TEAM Aer Lingus maintenance subsidiary has been sold off.

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Cullen, who had been hotly tipped for the £110,000 a year job, will also have to implement remaining aspects of the Cahill rescue plan which will involve shaving a further £50 million in annual cost savings in the next five years.

The figures from Aer Rianta, the national airports authority, shows that the increase in scheduled services to the U.S. have paid off for Dublin with passenger numbers up 20 percent to 86,489 in August.

The charter holiday market drove up European passenger numbers by 16 percent to 470,215.

UK traffic, which accounted for over 50 percent of total throughput, grew by 9 percent to 705,513 passengers.

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