IWAK welcomes European Commission approval for Regional Airports Programme

The Chairman and Board of Ireland West Airport Knock has welcomed the decision by the European Commission in approving Ireland’s 2015-2019 Regional Airports Programme. The Programme, officially announced last week, 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, the airport has presented a strong business case for future investment into the airport and delivery of that report’s key recommendations. This is based on its impressive track record, operational efficiency, expanding route network and significant regional contribution that it makes from an employment, business and tourism perspective.

In a statement from the Airport they said, "We expect today’s (Friday, August 14 ) 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 per cent 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 per cent of project costs for this airport and for the continuation of operational funding.

"We wish to thank the Taoiseach, Ministers and local representatives for progressing matters to this stage and we look forward to welcoming An Taoiseach and the Minister for Transport to the Airport in September and working through the specific details of the new programme.  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."

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