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Hynes confident on SDZ development for Knock Airport

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‘WORKING HARD TO SECURE SERVICES’  Joe Gilmore, MD of Knock Airport.

Anton McNulty

THE Chief Executive of Mayo County Council believes that a positive recommendation regarding a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) at Ireland West Airport Knock will be forwarded to Cabinet for approval.
Peter Hynes, the Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, was speaking at yesterday’s monthly meeting of the Council which was held in Ireland West Airport Knock. The meeting was described by Mr Hynes as ‘truly historic’ as it was the first Council meeting there since they became part owners of the airport, along with six other local authorities.
Updating the councillors on the progress of the SDZ, Mr Hynes said they were making progress on the matter over the last few weeks and have been in discussion with the relevant government departments.
“Indictions are positive and while it is not in our gift to say categorically that it will happen, that is a matter for Cabinet, we expect a positive recommendation to go to Cabinet in the not too distant future,” he explained.
Calls were made for the creation of a task force to focus the government on investment in the airport but Mr Hynes felt they should work on other areas which are required for a SDZ to be developed.
Cllr John Caulfield, who proposed the creation of a task force, said he listened to what Mr Hynes said and would now be looking for a time frame on any proposals. He said the airport was opened for 30 years and it was ‘time jobs came’.
Mr Joe Gilmore, CEO of the airport had earlier spoke of the positivity in 2016 and they hoped to develop the airport in the future, including the expansion of the airport apron to cater for six aircraft stands.
He said the airport needed €23 million in infrastructure funding to improve the airport and the current government’s commitment to the airport was questioned by some.
However, Foxford councillor Neil Cruise defended the government saying that €11.5 million was invested since 2011 and said the airport did not belong to any party and was the ‘people’s airport’.
Mr Gilmore also told the councillors that he believes there is a market for transatlantic flights to Knock but the market was very competitive with four Irish airports competing for the flights.
“We continue to talk about US services here and we are convinced there is a market. We are in a very competitive market place and have four other airports on the island vying for those services outside of Dublin. If you look at Norwegian Air, they could be one of the airlines who could provide the services and access. We are working very hard to secure services,” he said.

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