Plea for £15m more to secure Derry Airport future

 City of Derry Airport needs another £15 million of financial aid to secure its future
Seamus McKinney

DERRY and Strabane Council is to seek £15 million in financial aid to secure the future sustainability of City of Derry Airport.

Problems facing the council-owned airport – which is already heavily subsidised by rate payers – were raised at a meeting of the council’s governance and strategic planning committee.

Members were told that the airport was a “key infrastructural asset” and was vital for the provision of air connectivity for the north west.

A council spokeswoman said the authority intended engaging with government in the hope of securing £15m over the next six years as part of a three-stranded approach in light of challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council also hopes to retain financial support for the airport’s existing London Public Service Order (PSO) flights to London and to obtain additional funding for a Dublin PSO route.

“The strategic importance of City of Derry Airport as a key source of air connectivity in the north west of Ireland, both as a promoter of tourism and as a contributor to regional economic growth was emphasised at the meeting,” the spokeswoman heard.

Despite what were described as “recent challenges”, passenger numbers at City of Derry rose by 7.1 per cent in 2019/2020.

The spokeswoman said a successful conclusion to discussions with government could reduce the council’s subvention of the facility to “a more sustainable £1.5m per annum”.

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