In one of his final acts as Taoiseach, Enda Kenny has confirmed that Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK) will be designated as a Strategic Development Zone.
The proposal to make an order for the Ireland West Airport Knock Strategic Development Zone was agreed at the cabinet’s weekly meeting this morning, Tuesday, May 30.
“I am delighted to confirm that a Strategic Development Zone for Knock Airport has been approved by cabinet this morning,” stated Mr Kenny following this morning’s cabinet meeting.
“Today’s decision will secure the long-term development of Ireland West Airport Knock as well as attracting enterprise to the area and the provision of further employment possibilities for the people of Mayo.”
Mayo County Council zoned land around the airport in their Local Area Plan in 2012 for a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) and applied for the land to be given SDZ status.
The Taoiseach’s announcement will come as a major boost for the airport’s long term development. An SDZ is an area of land that is proposed to contain developments of economic or social importance to the State.
Consideration of the SDZ designation for IWAK is focused on maximising certainty in planning for development related to air services and supporting the required infrastructure.
Mr Kenny added that the SDZ will allow the airport to continue to grow and create opportunities for business and employment.
“Our airport is growing at an extraordinary rate, indeed the fastest in the country, with an increase in passenger numbers of 9.1 percent compared to the same time last year. With such growth come great opportunities for the creation of business and employment however, we must also be cognisant of the associated challenges including the provision of infrastructure. The designation of the airport as an SDZ will help plan for expansion whilst ensuring any future challenges are carefully addressed,” he said
In 2015, The National Aviation Policy reiterated the importance of Ireland West Airport and also acknowledged that the airport plays a more regional role in terms of access than other airports given its location in the North West. The proposed SDZ at Knock will secure the future of the airport as an all important hub for transport, tourism, business and employment in County Mayo and the North West.
“I once again would like to wholeheartedly welcome this announcement and wish all stakeholders well in the future. I look forward to seeing the benefits this will bring to Ireland West Airport and the surrounding areas well into the future,” the Taoiseach concluded.