Airports

Published on April 1st, 2023 | by Alan Dwyer

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€17million Funding to Support Capital Projects at Regional Airports 

On Thursday, during a visit to Shannon Airport, the Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers TD, announced funding of almost €17million to support capital projects at Regional Airports. Shannon Airport plays a crucial economic role across the West of Ireland, with their most recent Economic Impact Assessment calculating that the airport generates close to €1 billion annually to the economy and supports approximately 13,695 jobs. Committed to the continued success of the Airport and consistent with the Programme for Government action to deliver capital programmes required to support services and ensure safety at our State and regional airports, Minister Chambers took the opportunity, during his visit, to announce capital funding, under the Regional Airports Programme 2021-2025, of over €10.63 million supporting our regional airports at Shannon, Donegal, Knock and Kerry. As with the previous two years under this Programme, these allocations will contribute towards capital investment in the areas of safety and security at airports, whilst also supporting projects with a sustainability focus.

Speaking at Shannon Airport, where the funding was announced, Minister Chambers said, “I am pleased to be back in Shannon Airport today. Shannon Airport is the State’s third busiest airport, welcoming over 1.5 million passengers last year, which represents an 88% recovery on 2019 passenger traffic. I am delighted to hear that the airport is well on track for another busy year in 2023. Already this year, the number of passengers travelling through Shannon Airport during January and February were up by 21% and 17% respectively compared to the same periods in 2019. This demonstrates the effective delivery of services, by the dedicated staff and management team who deliver for passengers on a daily basis, in meeting the extremely strong demand for international travel. I am delighted to announce this funding today, which will support significant airfield rehabilitation works at Shannon Airport this year, as well as three new passenger airbridges. This will bring the number of new airbridges supported by way of Exchequer funding at Shannon Airport to six since 2021. Security screening equipment upgrades are also being supported, along with the continued support for water supply system upgrade works. Continuing to assist Shannon Airport in transitioning to a low carbon economy, support for the replacement of four airport operational vehicles with electric vehicles is being provided. This builds on the seven safety, security and operational vehicles already replaced at the airport by way of Exchequer funding in the past two years.

This funding announcement will also support similar projects across Donegal, Knock and Kerry airports. While Cork Airport is not eligible for support under the Programme in 2023, €6m is being provided, in principle, to the airport for the commencement of a significant CAT 3 security screening project in 2023. The project is currently being assessed by the Department in line with the Public Spending Code. To date, Government has provided funding to support projects employing this CAT 3 security screening technologies at Shannon, Donegal, and Kerry airports, with Ireland West Airport receiving approval today for this security screening technology as part of their funding allocation under the Regional Airports Programme. This security screening technology allows both electronic devices and liquids to be left in hand luggage for screening, expediting the whole security screening process and enhancing the overall passenger experience at airports.

In response to the Minister’s announcement, the Managing Director at Cork Airport, Niall MacCarthy said, “I welcome the renewed commitment from Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers T.D. of €6,000,000 in funding towards our new CAT 3 security screening project at Cork Airport – the largest, single allocation of funding as part of Regional Airports Programme. As the busiest and largest airport in the South of Ireland and a key economic enabler, providing the best international connectivity for passengers in Munster and South Leinster, we welcome Government’s renewed commitment to invest in Cork Airport. I thank Minister Chambers, the Department of Transport and the Irish Government for their continued support of Cork Airport.”

Also commenting was the Chairman of Ireland West Airport, Arthur French who said “We welcome today’s announcement of funding by the Minister Jack Chambers TD, which will assist the airport in undertaking critically important safety and security related projects this year. This funding will support the latest phase of our airport transformation programme aimed at both futureproofing the airport and ensuring our facilities meet the needs of our customers as we prepare for a record summer flight schedule. In particular the introduction of the new state-of-the-art security screening system later this year will make the experience for passengers using the airport an even quicker and more seamless one and we expect this will be received with great enthusiasm and delight by passengers. I wish to thank the Taoiseach, Ministers Ryan and also to our local TD’s and political representatives for their strong support for the airport and the regions it serves.”

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