Small airports 'must pay their way'
Published 24/12/2011 | 12:35
Smaller regional airports will have to pay their own way if they are to survive, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has warned.
More than five million euro from the state coffers will be given to six regional airports to cover their costs for the past year.
Donegal, Sligo, Ireland West at Knock, Galway, Kerry and Waterford airports will all get a taxpayer subvention.
But Mr Varadkar signalled funding may run out for regional airports into the future.
They will have to work towards "operational viability" over the coming years, he added.
"Because of the need to make the best use of scarce Exchequer resources, Galway and Sligo airports will only receive operational and capital funding for 2011," the minister said
"Ireland West Airport Knock, Kerry Airport, Waterford South East Regional Airport and Donegal Airport will be eligible for funding up to the end of 2014.
"Ongoing support during this period will depend on the availability of funds."
A total of 5,392,334 euro has been allocated to the six regional airports under the Operational Expenditure (OPEX) Subvention Scheme. The public money covers costs arising from core airport services, but only when these can not be fully recovered from the airport's own income.
Capital funding is spent on safety and security projects, so airports can comply with national and international aviation safety and security standards.