Midlands Airport proposal looks for support

The proposed Midlands Airport is looking for members of the public to show their support and push local representatives, especially the three Westmeath-based TDs to back the €450m plans.

Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser, CEO of Midlands Airport Developments Ltd, Patrick Little, emphasised that the airport, which is planned to be built on the Tubber/Horseleap border is “not an Offaly project but a Midlands’ project”.

And he is now calling for a “community approach” to be taken as the Department of Transport are preparing a new civil aviation policy which could affect the future of the proposed airport. The proposers of the Midlands Airport feel that a community approach will benefit all existing airports as well as the one planned for the Midlands.

“Everyone in the Midlands needs to tell the Government that this airport is something we want to see happening,” said Mr Little. “We need to ask our local TDs if this is something they want to see happening.”

The development of the Midlands Airport could see the creation of some 2,600 jobs between direct and indirect employment.

“These are real jobs that will be available to all skill levels, and these are jobs that the people of the Midlands are ready to fill,” he added.

The civil aviation policy is due to be published next year, with a further consultation period marked for the end of 2013 ahead of publication.

The proposal provides for airports to collaborate by dividing labour and allow for specialisation around geographic strengths. This division of labour and specialisation will spread traffic growth and ensure the sustainable growth of Irish airports.

“The plan states that low cost carriers have become too concentrated on Dublin Airport which has drastically reduced air freight capacity which is much needed for just-in-time exports. With new destinations developing from emerging global economies it is vital that Ireland has adequate capacity to develop new routes and markets,” Mr Little explained.

Airports should also be encouraged to collaborate on linked services and co-marketing. Early discussions between Galway Airport and Midlands Airport have been facilitated by Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames. These discussions are proving beneficial with potential for future collaboration being discussed between the two developments.

“Ireland needs to get creative with its air infrastructure to attract new business and visitors. This will enable Ireland to position itself as a global player in the aviation sector. Galway Airport offers great opportunities to develop innovative services to the aviation market and we look forward to being part of the team along with the Midlands Airport in delivering this community approach. We would like to see all Irish airports participating in this initiative,” he concluded.

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