THE GOVERNMENT HAS promised to give €5 million to the extension of the runway at Waterford Regional Airport, with private investors and local authorities expected to make up the remaining sum.
Minister for Transport Shane Ross has announced he would “in principle” allocate €5 million toward the €12 million runway extension at the airport.
Private investors and local authority interests will commit €5 million and €2 million respectively in return for an equity shareholding in Waterford Airport.
Among the private investors who have shown a “willingness to commit time, money and expertise” to the project are Dawn Meats Group, Glanbia and Coolmore Stud, according to the Department of Transport. The local authorities involved are Waterford, Kilkenny and Wexford.
When asked by Fora whether any investor has given money to the project yet, a spokesperson said private investors have “shown a willingness to commit”.
The airport, which has not had any commercial flights since 2016, previously said it needs at least €12 million to build a bigger runway that would allow planes such as the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320 to land.
Ross said he was ”optimistic about the potential upside of the proposal” and “struck by the commitment of the private sector investors”.
He also stated the funding was dependent on the airport’s ability to find a party to deliver the project for €12 million. The €5 million will only be paid when all upgrade works are complete and the runway has been cleared for service by the Irish Aviation Authority.
Waterford TD John Halligan also welcomed the decision, according to local radio station WLR FM.
The airport’s woes
Last October, Fora reported the company Aer Southeast that had planned to operate commercial flights between Waterford and the UK had shut down after it was ordered by the aviation watchdog to stop taking bookings without a license to do so.
The company would have been the first commercial airline to operate from the airport after Belgian parent of airline VLM went bankrupt and axed its Waterford to London-Luton service.
Currently, Waterford Regional Airport is used by a coastguard helicopter and is available for use by private jets.
In total the government announced the allocation of almost €14 million in total today – with €8.85 million being spent on safety and security at airports of Donegal, Ireland West Airport Knock and Kerry.