EU guidelines now allow the Regional Airports Programme be administered to airports with up to 3 million annual passengers, including Shannon Airport.
Limerick Chamber is to submit their members’ views on the issues paper for the Review of Regional Airports Programme
The Department of Transport presented an opportunity for Limerick Chamber to submit their members’ views on the issues paper for the ‘Mid-term Review of the Regional Airports Programme 2021-2025’ (RAP).
While the opportunity was welcomed, the Chamber and its members have provided recommendations and issues that should be addressed as part of the RAP which they believe will better facilitate enterprise and more balanced regional development.
Seán Golden, Chief Economist of Limerick Chamber, says, “The Regional Airports Programme has historically been administered to private regional airports with under 1 million annual passengers.
“However, EU guidelines allow the Programme to be administered to airports with up to 3 million annual passengers – bringing Shannon and Cork into eligibility.”
Mr Golden notes Limerick Chamber’s submission will outline the scope to extend the programme “to all airports under 3 million”, allowing “more of a level playing field between private and public airports.”
The Chief Economist believes the programme should reach beyond the scope of achieving population distribution goals:
“The Regional Airports Programme should be used as a mechanism for not only achieving the population distribution goals in Project Ireland 2040 but also to support existing and future enterprise in the region.”
He said the RAP is “critical in supporting European Air connectivity, especially from a Mid-West perspective, by funding a PSO route from Shannon to Amsterdam or Frankfurt.”
Mr Golden added that as an island nation, Ireland relies on air travel to increase connectivity to our European neighbours “and since the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union there is a lack of connectivity to a European Hub with diverse onward connectivity.”
“Our submission will feed into an issues paper for the Department’s work on their Mid-Term review of the programme with another consultation to follow in the coming year,” he concluded.
Limerick Chamber is the largest business representation organisation in the Mid-West boasting a membership of 400 businesses and over 50,000 employees. Limerick Chamber represents a wide array of businesses across the region from local retailers, indigenous exporters to Multinational Corporations and everything in between.