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Regional Airports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 25 March 2014

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Ceisteanna (1234)

Dessie Ellis

Ceist:

1234. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the framework for approval by the EU Commission for State support for regional airports that his Department was to develop with respect to the proposed €35 million investment for Ireland West Airport Knock; his understanding of the current EU regulations regarding state support for regional airports; and his views on the proposed changes to EU regulations regarding state support for regional airports post 2014. [13000/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Under the Regional Airports Programme, Exchequer support is provided to Donegal, Waterford, Kerry and IWA Knock airports through the Capital Expenditure Grants (CAPEX) Scheme, the Operational Expenditure Subvention (OPEX) Scheme and a Scheme for subventing Public Service Obligations (PSO) air services operating between Kerry and Dublin and Donegal and Dublin. The current Regional Airport Programme ends this year. In line with the recently adopted revised EU Guidelines on State Aid for Airports and Airlines, my Department is currently developing a new Programme for the period post 2014, which will also take account of the outcomes of the IWA Knock Study. It will be necessary to notify certain of the State Aid proposals contained in that Programme to the EU Commission.

I should emphasise that there is no question of all the capital funding requirements of any regional airport being provided by the Exchequer. Where Exchequer funding is provided there will also be a requirement for  local authority and  local business investment. This follows the changes to the current levels of permissible Exchequer supports, provided for in the revised Guidelines, which will have an impact on regional airports and require those airports to secure alternative funding supports in addition to the Exchequer. As part of the consultation process prior to adoption of the Guidelines, Ireland provided comments on the draft Guidelines, a copy of which is published on my Department's website.

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