The future of Galway Airport was made a lot brighter this week as it will now continue to be included in the vital operational subvention funding programme following a decision by Government to reject the recommendations contained in the ‘Value For Money’ report.
Managing director for Galway Airport, Joe Walsh, welcomed the decision made during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday night adding that the airport will now be able to take part in further talks with the Department of Transport regarding future funding under the operational subvention programme.
Speaking to the Advertiser yesterday Mr Walsh explained that the Cabinet had rejected the recommendations contained in the report in relation to the annual operation subvention, however, the decision regarding Public Service Obligation has still been maintained.
It was announced recently that PSO funding, worth €960,000 a year, would be withdrawn on the Galway to Dublin Aer Arann service from July onwards. The ‘Value For Money’ report on regional airports had also recommended that the annual operation subvention funding, worth €1.3 million, would also cease to be provided to Galway Airport. This prompted fears for the future of the airport.
“It was a critical decision,” said Mr Walsh who added that if the recommendation regarding the withdrawal of operational subvention funding went ahead it would have been “catastrophic for the airport”.
Mr Walsh said: “We will now be engaging with the Department of Transport in relation to the operational subvention requirements and it is expected that there will be a review and allocation of funding. As a consequence of this decision Galway Airport will be part of the programme from 2011 onwards, depending on how long the programme will last. This is very important news for us, it has given us an opportunity to get back at it and have further discussions with the Department, but there is still a lot of work to be done.”