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Published on November 22nd, 2021 | by Alan Dwyer

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Ireland West and Kerry Airports Receive €1.5m in Sustainability Funding.

The Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport has approved funding of over €1.5 million for Capital expenditure (CAPEX) projects are both Ireland West Airport and Kerry Airport. The funding is provided to contribute towards investment in sustainability initiatives in the areas of safety, security and sustainability under the Regional Airports Programme 2021-2025. Over the past decade, the Regional Airports Programme has targeted Exchequer support towards safety and security related projects/operational activities at Ireland’s smallest regional airports (those with scheduled flights and fewer than 1 million annual passengers). The scope of the new Programme published earlier this year has been broadened to include sustainability objectives.  

Ireland West Airport is currently part of the Airport Councils International (ACI) Carbon Accreditation Programme which sets out a framework for airports to reduce and manage their carbon footprint. As part of this framework it is currently progressing a sustainability and environmental strategy over the next 5-year period and to create an environmental green airport programme reducing overall carbon emissions and to achieve ‘net zero’ for its carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. The objective is part of the resolution, which was adopted at ACI’s annual congress meeting in Cyprus, which means that by 2050, Europe’s airports including Ireland West Airport will produce no carbon emissions, without using offset initiatives such as buying carbon credits.

Kerry Airport plans to introduce measures over the coming months that will result in the purchase of electric aircraft tugs, baggage conveyors, special assistance passenger transport vehicles, and an incident support vehicle. Funding will also be provided for an electric aircraft refueler, an airfield patrol vehicle, a runway maintenance vehicle, a rescue vehicle, and an upgrade of all carpark lighting to low energy LED.

Commenting on the announcement of the funding, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde  Naughton said, “Building on my announcement of €4.87m in capital funds to the airports of Ireland West, Kerry and Donegal on 19 Aprilearlier this year, and €16.33m in capital funds to the airports of Cork and Shannon, I am delighted to approve these additional capital allocations. Today’s investment represents an important step in the process towards the ‘greening’ of Irish Airports. I am pleased to say that this funding will support a Master Plan for Carbon Reduction at Ireland West Airport, an External Lighting Project to replace high energy consuming lighting at Kerry Airport and an extensive vehicle replacement programme at both Ireland West and Kerry Airports. This will see 20 vehicles being replaced by electric models. This funding represents a strong commitment by Government to help Ireland’s regional airports move towards carbon neutrality.”
Also commenting was the Chairman, Ireland West Airport, Arthur French who said, “We welcome today’s announcement of funding towards sustainability initiatives by the Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton T.D which will assist the airport in undertaking important sustainability related projects in the coming months to support our commitment to delivering on the environmental green airport programme and to reducing overall carbon emissions to achieve a‘net zero’ position by 2050 at the latest. We also wish to acknowledge the continued support of Ministers Naughton and Ryan and the Department of Transport during what continues to be a very challenging time for the airport due to the continued impact of COVID-19.”

The CEO at Kerry Airport, John Mulhern added, “We recognise the challenges facing the aviation industry in the global battle to protect our environment. Our plan to introduce an electric fleet of vehicles confirms our commitment to move forward towards carbon neutrality. This funding from the Department of Transport demonstrates a strong commitment by Government to help us achieve that goal and continue our recovery. We thank Minister Naughten and recognise the tireless work in the background by the team at the Department of Transport. Grateful thanks as always to our Kerry-based Government representatives, Minister for Education Norma Foley and Deputy Government Chief Whip Brendan Griffin for their continued support.”

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