Ireland West Airport Knock welcomes the European Commission’s approval of €65.5 million in public financing for six regional airports in Ireland. The measure will enable the Irish Government to invest in capital investment expenditures at regional airports that enhance safety, security and capacity projects between 2006 and 2010. As Ireland’s fourth international and fastest growing airport, this much needed investment in Ireland West Airport Knock’s infrastructure is critical to sustain its continued growth and development. The airport has made a funding application under the scheme to support its €45.9 million capital investment programme.
Since 2002 Ireland West Airport Knock’s passenger numbers have more than trebled from 199,000 to over 620,000 in the present year. Stemming from this highly accelerated growth, the airport must make a significant and immediate investment in capacity development and enhancements to safety and security systems to meet the demand on its facilities now and in the coming years. The most urgent projects include enhancements to the airport’s landing, lighting and security systems - in particular the implementation of CAT II Instrumentation Landing Systems - as well as the expansion of the Airport’s aircraft parking area and terminal building.
Commenting on the announcement, Liam Scollan, Managing Director, Ireland West Airport Knock, said: “Ireland West Airport Knock has accounted for half of all passengers carried by Ireland’s regional airports in 2005. We are seeking €36.7 million from the scheme to assist fund our €45.9 million infrastructure projects, the balance of which will be invested by the Airport itself from its own resources.”
Mr. Scollan said that the Airport has now reached the critical point in time to get these projects underway. “We need to commence these projects in October if the airport is to be able to handle next year’s growth and compete and win new international routes. Mr. Scollan continued by acknowledging the role of local and European representatives and the Finance Minister, Mr. Brian Cowen TD, in creating the new regional airport funding scheme and expressed hope that projects awaiting funding by the Department of Transport could be approved shortly.
Ireland West Airport Knock has made very significant contributions to the access infrastructure and development of its region. Recent analysis by Goodbody Economic Consultants shows that in 2005, the Airport supported 175 jobs on site and 786 jobs in the region; stimulated tourism spend of circ. €62 million and returned circ. €10 million to government in tax and PRSI from the totality of its activities.