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Regional Airports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Ceisteanna (102)

Rose Conway-Walsh

Ceist:

102. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Transport the steps that are being taken to ensure the recovery of the Ireland West Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53695/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

A new Regional Airports Programme (RAP) for the period 2021 to 2025 was published on 4 February 2021. This Programme will continue to support Ireland’s smallest airports, including Ireland West Airport, that operate scheduled services and handle fewer than 1 million annual passengers. Capital supports under this Programme are targeted at grant-aiding investments in safety and security enhancements and also to assist the regional airports in ensuring they comply with international regulatory requirements in these areas. Funding will also support sustainability objectives, enabling these airports to identify and implement climate related efficiencies and build resilience against the likely impacts of climate change.

Funding of €21m is available under the RAP this year to support our smaller regional airports (Ireland West, Donegal and Kerry) and the PSO air service. €10m in capital funding is available, with €2.2m allocated to Ireland West Airport to date this year. €3.9m in operational supports is also available under the Programme this year with formal assessment currently underway for this funding. Subject to available resources, up to 100% of operating costs associated with providing essential, non-economic services in the areas of safety and security will be funded.

Additional capital project proposals with a sustainability focus, including submissions by Ireland West Airport, are also currently being evaluated for RAP funding in 2021. A decision in relation to these projects is expected to be announced shortly.

A further €6m was made available in 2021 under State aid approved schemes to help airports mitigate the effects of COVID. Almost half of this amount, which relates to losses in 2020, was allocated in July, with €1.9m allocated to Ireland West Airport. The remaining €3m will be disbursed in December following an assessment by the Department of eligible losses to end 2021.

Government has announced Exchequer funding of €36m for the Programme in 2022 to support regional airports and PSO Air services. This funding will continue to support Ireland West Airport, as well as the airports of Shannon, Cork, Donegal and Kerry, in 2022. In a substantial increase in funding available next year, airports will receive €26m in support for safety and security related current expenditure and PSO air services. €10m in capital funding will also be provided.

I can assure the Deputy that Government is committed to supporting the regions and regional connectivity. The funding which has been made available to regional airports, including Ireland West Airport, is a clear indication of the importance Government attaches to the Airports being well positioned to weather the current crisis and for recovery and growth into the future.

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