Regional airports to share €11m in exchequer funding for capital projects
Funds will be used for capital investment projects at Shannon, Donegal, Kerry and Knock
Knock, Donegal and Kerry regional airports will split almost €4.8m under the existing Regional Airports Programme, with Knock receiving €2.2m
Four regional airports will share €11 million in taxpayers’ money to invest in their existing infrastructures to cope with the financial shock from Covid-19, which has damaged air travel over the past year.
The allocations, announced by Minister of State for Transport Hildegarde Naughton, will contribute towards capital investment in the areas of safety, security and sustainability, or what she described as the “greening” of Irish airports.
Donegal, Kerry and Knock regional airports will split almost €4.8 million under the existing Regional Airports Programme, with Knock receiving €2.2 million, Kerry getting €1.7 million, and Donegal €876, 525.
Shannon Airport will get €6.3 million under the Covid-19 regional State airports programme 2021.
Ms Naughton said each airport received the funding requested for their respective projects.
She said many of the schemes being supported would “incorporate valuable climate benefits” such as the replacement of vehicles with more efficient, low-emission equivalents and the replacement of airfield and external lighting with LED lighting.
Other projects funded include new safety and security systems which incorporate more energy-efficient components, as well as components that are recyclable at the end of their service life.
Cork Airport is also eligible for support under the Covid-19 regional State airports programme and an application for funding in respect of a significant runway overlay project is currently being assessed by the department.
Given the costs involved, the project is also subject to appraisal under the public spending code. Pending a satisfactory evaluation, Ms Naughton said she hoped to be able to approve funding for the project in the coming weeks.
Irish airports will also be eligible to apply for operational grant aid targeted at vital safety and security-related operational expenses later this year.
Almost €20 million is available during 2021 for air traffic control, fire services and security-related expenses which will help ensure that airports can continue to remain compliant with regulatory requirements in these areas.
Kerry Airport Ireland CEO John Mulher said the last year had been “an unprecedented chapter of great struggle for Kerry Airport”, but that he was “confident” about the airport’s future as it continues to receive State support.
“Today’s announcement of record capital funding is yet another example of how this Government ensures we will have the assets and capability to maintain and continue to build a safe, secure and more environmentally-conscious platform towards recovery.
“Undoubtedly we will need to wrestle through for a time. However, record vaccination rates and funding such as this pave the way to unfettered travel that we all long for again.”
Ms Naughton said “I am delighted to be approving these capital allocations in what has been an incredibly difficult year on our regional airports”.
“This funding represents a strong commitment by Government to help Ireland’s regional airports remain financially sustainable as they plan to move beyond the largest exogenous shock that the sector has ever faced.”