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Niall Maloney, is set to leave his role as Shannon Airport Operations Director after working for 41 years at the airport. Photograph by John Kelly.

Niall Maloney to depart from Shannon Airport after 41 years


AFTER 41 years of service to Shannon Airport, most recently as Operations Director, Niall Maloney will soon be departing.

Mr Maloney is set to be succeeded as Director by Niall Kearns, who will lead the airport’s Operations and Commercial team.

Being Operations Director at Shannon involved responding to countless challenges and in a previous interview with the Clare Champion Mr Maloney said, “In our business there are challenges every day. Some of them are quite minor, some of them are a bit more detailed and you have to treat each passenger’s needs on a case by case basis.

“You have people who have died, you have people who are going to a wedding, people who have left a passport behind, people who have lost a set of keys, people who don’t know the country at all and want some help and service.

“You’ve a whole myriad of various issues, some of them quite serious, some of them less than serious, some of them frivolous. Each customer has to be dealt with and shown the due respect.”
He also stressed his affection for the airport where he spent so long working and where his father also worked.

“Working in a job is one thing, working in a job you love and an airport you have the highest regard for is another. It’s part of my blood.”

He has been involved in making sure visits from the likes of George W Bush, Boris Yeltsin and Donald Trump went off as smoothly as possible and speaking about such events, he said., “I’ve often used the analogy with VIP visits, it’s like a swan going graceful across the pond but the legs are going like bejesus underneath.

“You’ve got to have a confident persona outside but your head is always thinking what will happen next? Or what could go wrong and how do I make sure it doesn’t go wrong?

“For VIP visits things change, you can have the best game plan but each event doesn’t go exactly according to the plan.

“There’s always someone who hasn’t read the plan, hasn’t been privy to the plan, something always changes that makes a slight difference and that’s what you need to be alert to.”

His replacement, a senior executive with over 18 years’ experience, has held a variety of operational and commercial roles. He joins the Shannon Group from Eirtech Aviation Services – a leading global aircraft service provider based in Shannon with whom he was Chief Commercial Officer.  

He joined Eirtech in 2013, developed a global commercial team and led the global expansion of the company with airlines and leasing companies until his departure this year.

Prior to this, Mr Kearns worked in the Kemmy Business School in UL, and in sales and business process improvement roles in Dell.  Mr Kearns is from Laois originally and has lived in Limerick for 22 years.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.