Ireland West Airport Knock have been given the green light to make submissions for funding under a five year business plan after the European Commission approval for Ireland’s 2015-2019 Regional Airports Programme last week.
The Chairperson and Board of Ireland West Airport Knock welcomed the decision by the European Commission in approving Ireland’s 2015-2019 Regional Airports Programme. The Programme, officially a will allow for the State to provide financial supports (State aid) to the four regional airports, including Ireland West Airport Knock, over the period 2015-2019.
“Since the completion of the joint Government and Airport study, chaired by Deputy John O’Mahony, on the future of Ireland West Airport Knock, in December 2013, we have presented a strong business case for future investment into the Airport and delivery of that report’s key recommendations,” it was noted in a statement issued last week.
“We expect this announcement to form the basis of a long term commitment and investment from both the European Commission and the Government to support the Airport’s growth and development plans, in tandem with the airlines and business partners, that use the airport. In this context the future support and investment from the Local Authorities, and all regional tourism and business stakeholders, is also of key importance.
“We recognise that the level of financial supports will be contingent on the availability of exchequer resources in any one year and subject to the 2014 EU Guidelines on state-aid to airports, which at this point limits major capital investment to a level of 75% of project costs. However we are determined to work closely with the Minister and his Department in submitting plans to access a higher level of capital investment aid of over 90% of project costs for this airport and for the continuation of operational funding.”
The Chairperson and Board of Ireland West Airport Knock thanked the Taoiseach, Ministers and local representatives for progressing matters to this stage. In the interim the airport will commence the process of making submissions to the Department with the objective of securing the airport’s future growth and development.
Independent Roscommon/South Leitrim TD, Michael Fitzmaurice, told the Leitrim Observer that he would be supporting Knock Airports’ submission for funding under a five year business plan.
“Knock Airport is one of the most valuable transport hubs in the western region and any funding that will help to improve it’s facilities is very welcome,” he said.
Fine Gael TD for Sligo/north Leitrim, John Perry, also welcomed the news noting the “The approval of the 2015-2019 Programme will greatly assist Knock Airport in working towards a position of viability. Under the 2014 EU Guidelines, all of Ireland’s regional airports have until April 2024 to become self-sufficient before OPEX supports are discontinued.
“Knock Airport is of major importance to support local businesses and to provide a link to the rich tourism offerings in the North West.”