Galway Airport says it needs funds to survive

Wednesday 08 June 2011 22.29
Leo Varadkar - State funding to cease to Galway Airport
Leo Varadkar - State funding to cease to Galway Airport

Galway Airport's Managing Director has claimed there is a real risk of the facility closing down because of a decision to end State funding from next year.

Managing Director Joe Walsh also accused the Government of 'a lack of joined-up thinking' in dealing with the regional airline industry.

Sligo Airport is also to lose its State subvention from next year, but its Managing Director Joe Corcoran said he was confident it would survive.

There is to be no additional operating or capital funding for Galway or Sligo airports from 2012, so both must find new ways of meeting operational costs.

Galway Airport had sought a subsidy of €1.2m to help it meet its operational and capital costs in 2012.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar decided to provide almost €6m in additional State funding this year to six regional airports, including Galway and Sligo.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Mr Varadkar said the Government decision was based on consolidating the strengths of Donegal, Knock, Kerry and Waterford.

Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív urged the Minister to reverse 'the short-sighted decision', arguing that air access was vital to the tourist and business sectors in the West.

The airport in Galway has a staff of 62 people and 110,000 passengers annually.

In a statement, management at Sligo Airport said significant challenges lie ahead and no stone will be left unturned to ensure the airport continues to operate in the future.