As the Deputy will be aware, scheduled air services at Waterford Airport ceased in June 2016.
In December 2017, having failed to secure scheduled services, Waterford Airport sought funding from the Department in order to guarantee a continuation of services for the Coast Guard in 2018. The Department agreed to pay €375,000 in January this year to safeguard these services for the first six months of 2018 but also to allow time for appropriate consideration of the future options at Waterford Airport.
In light of the situation, my Department procured the services of independent consultants, Ernst & Young (EY) to conduct this review. The runway extension proposal, to which the Deputy refers, was received during the review process and was duly incorporated into the consideration of options by EY. The proposal from Waterford Airport is dependent on securing the necessary finance from private investors, local authorities as well as significant capital funding support from the Exchequer.
I brought the EY Review to this morning's Cabinet meeting for the information of Government at this stage. I have also sought some additional information and assurances from the airport in respect of potential investors and jet carriers. When I have fully considered the EY Review, along with any additional information provided by Waterford Airport, I have undertaken to revert to Government with a Memorandum for decision on the matter.