Airport plan “will have to stand up to the best international practices or there is no point in doing it”- Gilmore

The managing director of Ireland West International Airport, Joe Gilmore this week told the Mayo Advertiser that the joint study to develop strategic growth options for the airport will be up to the best international standards. Mr Gilmore spoke to this newspaper the day after the board of the airport held a lengthy meeting with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Transport, Leo Varadker, Minister of State for Tourism, Michael Ring, and the rest of the Government party’s Mayo Dáil delegation.

Mr Gilmore said that the meeting was a very positive one for the future of the airport, noting: “The body language was more positive than previously, and they all gave three hours of their time and met with the full board and the trust.” He also said that there was an acknowledgement from the Government attendees at that Knock Airport was not a privately owned entity. “There was a view that it was owned privately by a trust, but that’s not true. It’s held by a trust for the people of the region. The Government have accepted that they have a role here and were not the same as other regional airports [which are privately owned].”

The study will be chaired by John O’Mahony TD, deputy chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications, and will include high level representatives from the airport, local authority, regional industries and key Government departments including Transport, Finance, and Trade and Employment.

The terms of reference will be sorted out shortly according to Mr Gilmore. “The process over the next few days will be teased out and the terms of reference with be drafted buy the department, it will include the airport, the department, business interests, and the local authority,” he said.

When asked what he expected this survey would cost Gilmore told the Mayo Advertiser, “I’d hate to put a figure on it, but it will have to be done by international airport consultants. If you look at a similar report on Shannon cost €100,000. I’m not saying it will cost that, but it will have to stand up to the best international practices or there is no point in doing it.”

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