Our Story

Dublin Airport’s original terminal building built in 1940

Setting the Foundations

Founded in 1937 and leveraging an enviable legacy in successful commercialised airport management, daa International Limited was corporatized in 2014 to enable airport owners, investors and Governments to access the accumulated skills, talent and expertise that exists across the daa Group and beyond. daa International has a sister company, ARI, which has led the way in the luxury travel retail business for over 75 years. ​

100% owned by the Irish State, we are a standalone business with a fully commercial mandate.

Michael Martin, Senior Vice President of Consulting for daa International

Pioneers in Aviation

When operations began, the company was originally known as Aer Rianta. Aer Rianta’s name was derived from the translation of ‘Air Ways’ in Irish, the indigenous language of Ireland also known as Gaelic. The concept of duty free was generated by the management at Shannon Airport (a daa owned airport until 2013) and in 1947, the world’s first duty free shop opened in Ireland to service trans-Atlantic flights. In fact, one of the world’s most prominent retailers, Dubai Duty Free, was set up by a group of daa/ARI consultants employed by the then Director General of Dubai Civil Aviation.

*The below photos are courtesy of Archiseek.

1937 Dublin Airport, Collinstown*
1937 Dublin Airport Post card
Dublin Airport Lounge

Strategic Investment

Strategic investment has been a cornerstone to the Group’s stability and resilience. Timely investment and divestment has served the Group well. For example, the purchase of a 40% stake in Birmingham Airport (UK) in 2007 and subsequent sale of this shareholding to support the construction of Terminal 2, and other associated projects, at Dublin International Airport in 2017.

Terminal 2, Dublin Airport

In 2015, daa International signed a unique agreement with GACA, the General Authority of Civil Aviation in Saudi Arabia, to transition the newly constructed Terminal 5 at King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh into a fully operational, commercially viable and self sustaining, 15 million passenger facility. Over a period of 5 years through a bespoke management contract, founded in knowledge transfer, daa International has successfully delivered the fully staffed, ACI rated facility that is now run by the newly corporatized Riyadh Airports Company (RAC).

Red Sea International Airport concept image

Global Operations Today

We operate globally, with particular focus in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and works to share the expertise, capability and experience developed within the daa Group and its multiple Airport operations, with key partners who share the same vision for the future of aviation.

Our key projects include the operation and management of King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA), Jeddah, operation of Terminal 5, King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh, and design, ORAT and operation and management services for the new Red Sea International Airport, the key gateway to several of Saudi Arabia’s Giga-projects. In total, daa International manage over 85 million passengers through our airports worldwide.

This is our story and where we are today

We understand the operating and capital requirements associated with all areas of the airport business and work closely with our clients, offering the optimum service. 

This is daa International

Where we are in the world

daa Group including ARI and daa International are established in 30 locations across 15 countries including Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Germany, and India.

Map of daa Group locations across the world, including ARI and daa International
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