News Archive

Statement in response to Transport MInister Varadkar's comments on state funding to Ireland West Airport Knock since 1993

Statement – Ireland West Airport Knock

In response to comments made today (Monday 3rd December 2012) by Transport Minister, Leo Varadkar, a spokesman for Ireland West Airport Knock said:

“The Minister’s comments concerning State funding of Knock Airport since 1983 are inaccurate. It is not correct to state that Knock Airport has been in receipt of €44m in State support in this period.

The direct funding to the airport has been €28 million. The balance of €16 million was paid to carriers, who, as part of their Public Service Obligation (PSO) remit, serviced Knock Airport and the other regional airports.

Whilst Ireland West Airport Knock benefitted from the operation of PSO routes, because of passenger throughput, the main beneficiary of the PSO system has been the Dublin Airport Authority, as all regional PSO flights either originated in or arrived at Dublin Airport.

In the last ten years, Ireland West Airport Knock has been in receipt of €15m in State support compared to the €150m allocated to Shannon Airport. In addition, there are a number of other significant benefits to Shannon such as free air traffic control, which is valued at €3 million per annum and the movement of US troops which is of further very significant value to the airport. In addition, Shannon Airport has benefitted from the legacy of an advanced built infrastructure, while Knock Airport was being developed from what had recently been a pure greenfield site.

In spite of this level of support, Shannon Airport has lost €8m in the past year, while Ireland West Airport Knock has covered 94% of its operating cosst with a passenger throughput of less than 700,000.

It is wrong for the Minister to misrepresent the facts around Knock Airport in an attempt to justify the Government’s announcement on Shannon Airport today.

The Board and Management of Ireland West Airport Knock wish to emphasise that they have no issue whatsoever with Shannon and its ambitions for the future of the airport. What they seek is fairness from the Government in terms of the development of an aviation strategy and the allocation of funding, taking all the relevant facts into consideration.”