Ireland West Airport has welcomed the announcement by Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton TD, of the publication of a new Regional Airports Programme for the period 2021 to 2025.
The Programme, which is underpinned by Project Ireland 2040, provides a framework for supporting airports that deliver international connectivity to their regions. Its focus is to support Ireland’s regional airports, those that handle less than one million annual passengers, to maintain regulatory compliance in the areas of safety and security.
Welcoming the announcement, Arthur French, Chairman, Ireland West Airport, said: "The extension of the Regional Airports Programme is positive news for the airport and regional Ireland as the supports provided, as part of the programme, are critical for the ongoing sustainability of the airport.
"We also welcome the news that the Department of Transport is engaging with the European Commission to advance further schemes, in line with the package of supports for Irish Aviation that were announced by Government in November 2020, to address some of the liquidity issues and damage caused to date from Covid-19.
"We will continue to work with the Department to support the airport in the critical position it continues to find itself in as we prepare for another very challenging year for the aviation sector in 2021."
Passenger numbers at Ireland West Airport declined to 143,000 for the full year in 2020, a decline of 82 per cent compared to 2019’s record number of 807,000 passengers – a passenger level last seen in 1995. The airport experienced losses of close to €4m in 2020 as a result of Covid-19.