ACHIEVERS AWARD ?Pictured at the Connacht final of the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards were, from left; Liam Farrell and Brendan McDermott, Ulster Bank; Donal Healy, Marketing Manager and Paula Roberts, Ireland West Airport Knock.
€75m investment plan for Knock airport considered
A €75 million investment plan for the development of Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK) was discussed at the inaugural meeting of a group appointed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to secure its future sustainability. Chaired by John O’Mahony TD, the group is comprised of officials from the Departments of Enterprise, Transport and Finance, as well as local business leaders, including Mr Pat Gallagher, the general manager of Baxter Healthcare and airport board member, Martin Gillen of Allergan.
The group, which will consider a mix of public-private funding over a period of five years, is set to report to Enda Kenny and Minister Leo Varadkar by June 30 next.
Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday, John O’Mahony said it was still early days for the planning group, since it had taken some time to define the terms of reference.
“We now have to explore all the possibilities in order to secure the future of the airport. We had a five-hour meeting last Friday and lots of issues were brought to the table. It is important that this group produces a plan, since the airport has progressed so well since it was opened. We hope the report we ultimately present to the Taoiseach will feed into the Government’s new aviation policy and ensure the continued strategic importance of Knock airport,” John O’Mahony said.
Meanwhile, Mr Liam Scollan, the airport’s chairman, told The Sunday Times that: “[The money] could include or exclude government expenditure. We are not looking for a handout, but I think some money would certainly have to come from the State.”
The planning group was established earlier this year after the IWAK board criticised the State’s level of investment in Shannon Airport. It threatened to complain to the European Union if it did not contribute funding to the Mayo airport.
KNOCK airport has won the Social Enterprise Award at the Connacht provincial final of the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Award, and will now go forward to the national finals.
The awards attracted almost 600 entrants, with 66 of these from across Connacht.
The airport contributes over €100 million to the regional economy and now serves 25 international destinations and almost 700,000 passengers annually.