Council CEO warns that airport must ‘stand on its own two feet’

The CEO of Galway County Council Kevin Kelly says it is unlikely that commercial aviation will take place at Carnmore Airport again. Discussions are currently ongoing over the future of the site and the deadline for the extension of the agreement between Galway City and County councils and Carnmore Aviation Limited passed earlier this week.

Speaking at Wednesday’s local authority meeting, a number of councillors alluded to the importance of maintaining the runway at the facility, due to its substantial development cost. Others representatives alluded to the possibility of the airport attracting tourists to the region.

Kevin Kelly said a number of parties had expressed interest in using some or all of the site – and future development may not be compatible with maintaining an airport. “Private flights have been operating from the airport. It is not realistic to say the airport will be attracting tourists. There is no reason to think someone will come forward with a proposal to allow commercial aviation continue at the site. We can see the challenging environment that Knock and Shannon are operating within.”

The CEO said whatever was to happen at the site, it had to be financially viable. “The council is not in a position to financially support any venture.”

Councillor Michael Fahy got a mixed reaction when he suggested the site was perfect for a hospital. “It’s a nightmare for people trying to get to UHG. It is a disgrace that employees can’t even park at the hospital now because there is no room for them.”

Fianna Fail councillor Martina Kinane enquired if Galway County Council was dragging its feet on the issue. The explicit answer from Kevin Kelly was the council was not dragging its feet in any shape or form. “Extensive discussions are taking place. The bottom line is money. We have not got money to subscribe to the site, it has to stand on its own two feet. It is not a case of not wanting aviation related activity there, it is about viability.”

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