Galway Airport questions An Bord Snip recommendations

Joe Walsh — concened over Snip recommendations.

Joe Walsh — concened over Snip recommendations.

Galway airport management have said they are hugely concerned by An Bord Snip recommendations that all support, amounting to €17million, to Ireland’s six regional airports and regional air services is cut by 2011.

This would arise from the discontinuation of the Public Service Obligation for regional air services of €15 million post 2011 and €2 million from the discontinuation of Operational Grants for regional airports post 2010.

Joe Walsh, managing director, Galway Airport said that if implemented, these recomendations will have serious consequences for the whole region, consequences that people are simply not aware of at this point in time.

“Air access continues to be a critical infrastructural resource for the island of Ireland and particularly for the west of Ireland. Let’s not forget that we are a small island off a larger island off the west coast of Europe and air access continues to play an absolutely vital role in the economic and social development of this state. Within the EU the Irish are the third highest users of air transport,” he said.

“These recommendations if implemented will have very serious consequences for the west of Ireland particularly with regard to foreign direct investment – if air access and connectivity is downgraded, a key part of the foreign direct investment tool kit will be compromised. The bottom line is that these recommendations could have a serious negative affect on jobs and economic investment in the region”.

Galway airport is a primarily business airport and both local and regional businesses rely heavily on it.

The four daily Dublin services, three of which are PSO, besides providing access to Dublin also provide vital wordwide access and connectivity. A recent passenger survey confirmed that 94 per cent of passengers, who started their international journey at Galway Airport, were connecting onwards from Dublin Airport to major European cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Brussels and further afield to places like Bangkok, San Francisco and Sydney.

Mr Walsh continued saying, “Industry and business in the Galway region should not be discriminated against as they need the same international air access from a hub airport like Dublin as that enjoyed by business on the east coast.”

“These proposed recommendations could also compromise future route development at Galway Airport which in itself is a key part of future economic and social development within the region.”

“The recommendations to cut all support to regional airports will eventually cost more, not just simply in economic terms. It is absolutely critical that the Government considers this very seriously before deciding on implementing some or all of these recommendations”.


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