Ross urged to embrace Airport investment plan

The exclusion of Waterford Airport from State grant allocations for regional airports is ‘a legitimate cause for concern for all stakeholders’, according to Senator Paudie Coffey (FG).
Senator Coffey was speaking in the wake of the €3.85 million in grant funding announced by Transport Minister Shane Ross to airports in Donegal, Kerry and Knock (Ireland West).
While no funding was announced for Waterford Airport, the Department of Transport has “engaged Ernst & Young to carry out a review of the future options for that airport and their review is expected to be completed in June”.
This news came a week after reports emerged that €5 million in funding had been secured from a private investor after lengthy negotiations between Airport management, Waterford City & County Council and a local business umbrella group.
With Waterford Airport (putting emotion to one side) logically excluded from funding in the absence of a commercial operator, Senator Coffey urged the Government to support the Airport Board’s strategic capital investment plan.
“This business plan was presented to Minister Ross and his officials last week. It is a credible, sustainable and ambitious for Waterford Airport and the region and warrants government support,” said Senator Coffey.
“This plan includes private sector investment and requires government support to ensure the runway is extended to facilitate the landing of commercial jet aircraft, which is critical to attract modern regional air passenger services.” Senator Coffey said the Airport Board have “exhausted all efforts to map a future for the service”.

He stated: “The board has brought on board significant supporters and investors for Waterford Airport so now is the time for Minister Ross to match that commitment and approve government investment, which will ensure air access to our region and help unlock the potential of the South East region laid out by the Government in its Ireland 2040 Development Plan.”
In his end of term address as Waterford Chamber President, Paul Nolan referred to the “detailed submission” made by the Chamber to the National Planning Framework in which they stressed the strategic significance of the Airport for the region’s future.

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