Thursday 19 September 2019

State hands out €94m to regional airports

Kerry Airport at Farranfore
Kerry Airport at Farranfore

Fearghal O'Connor

Ireland's four regional airports have received almost €100m in direct State funding in the past seven years, new figures show.

The Department of Transport report showed that Kerry Airport received the most in capital grants and operating subvention paid out under the €94m Regional Airports Programme. Since 2012, the airport at Farranfore has received a total of €37m in State funding, with Donegal next on €29.5m, followed by Knock on €17.9m and Waterford on €9.33m.

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Revelations that Minister Shane Ross had sanctioned a joint venture plan with private sector backers to pump €7m of State and local authority money into Waterford Airport - which has had no commercial flights in two years - caused a political storm in June.

But figures contained in the new report show that €750,000 was given to it in 2018, despite the fact that the airport had been closed to scheduled flights two years ago.

The Department of Transport report noted that "there is relatively little data on passengers using the regional airports".

"Factors such as origin, destination and journey purpose would be valuable in evaluating the impact of the airports. The next Regional Airports Programme should require surveys capturing passenger profiles," it said.

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