Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Ceisteanna (558, 559, 560, 561, 562)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

558. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the conditions attached to the public funding of Waterford Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25518/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

David Cullinane

Ceist:

559. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the conditions attached to the public funding of Donegal, Knock and Kerry airports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25519/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

David Cullinane

Ceist:

560. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason for his statement that the future of Waterford Airport is highly uncertain unless private funding is secured; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25520/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

David Cullinane

Ceist:

561. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the difference in the announced matched funding plan for Waterford Airport as announced on 11 June 2019 and the commitment to matched funding in A Programme for a Partnership Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25521/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

David Cullinane

Ceist:

562. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason the decision has been taken to match public funds with private funds for the extension of the runway at Waterford Airport with the condition that the public funds are only released after the private funds have been secured first; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25522/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 558 to 562, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy refers, the Programme for Government committed to supplementing investment in Ireland’s regional airports and, following a review of the Capital Plan in 2017, an extra €17 million was provided to the Regional Airports Programme for allocation to these airports under the National Development Plan. This means, as part of Project Ireland 2040, a total of €72 million in capital funding is being committed to regional airports over the lifetime of the Plan.

In line with the terms of the capital funding schemes under the Regional Airports Programme, all grant aid to the regional airports including Donegal, IWAK and Kerry is payable on a reimbursement basis only, following the completion of works or the purchase of equipment. All grant aid claims must show evidence of expenditure before payment is made.

The model of funding put forward by Waterford Airport for this project is new to the Regional Airports Programme. Given the transformational nature of the project and the assessment of the risks arising, I felt it was prudent to ensure that the Exchequer support in this case would be subject to a number of provisos including the need for the procurement processes to demonstrate that the project can be implemented for €12 million. In addition, the Exchequer contribution of €5m will only be made on completion of the runway and on confirmation by the Irish Aviation Authority that the expanded runway is authorised for service.

The current runway at Waterford Airport has had a limiting effect on the types of aircraft that can operate there. As the Deputy will appreciate, this has impacted on the capacity of the airport to attract airlines. Accordingly, as I stated in my announcement, without the funding to extend the runway to accommodate larger jet aircraft, the future was looking very uncertain for Waterford Airport having had no scheduled air services in place since 2016.

This decision reaffirms this Government's pledge to encourage balanced regional development and to provide equal opportunities for growth and prosperity across all the regions including the South East.