Business

City of Derry Airport's ‘immediate future secured' by £3m support from Stormont

City Of Derry Airport

A £3 million grant from Stormont for City of Derry Airport has secured its immediate future, its managing director has said.

Steve Frazer said the allocation, announced by Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon on Tuesday, “goes some way to addressing the uncertainty our staff have faced year on year”.

The airport, which is owned by Derry City and Strabane District Council, costs ratepayers around £3.4m each year.

Last year the local authority asked the executive for £15m spread over six years to maintain its commercial viability.

Announcing the £3m for the Derry airport on social media, Nichola Mallon said it would help tackle “regional imbalance west of the Bann”.

While the dissolution of the Assembly means she is no longer an MLA, the current rules allow ministers stay in post until a new executive is formed, provided they are re-elected.

Stormont has previously stepped in with emergency financial support for the north west airport. A £1.23m package was awarded in November 2020. City of Derry also took a share of the £5.7m announced for the north's three main airports at the outset of the pandemic.

A £4m package split between Stormont and the UK Government is also in place until March 2023 to secure Loganair's Derry to London flights as a public service obligation (PSO) route.

Steve Frazer described City of Derry as “a key piece of infrastructure serving the north west and our regional economy”.

He said: "That recognition of our contribution to the region and the burden which until now, has been fully shouldered by the rates payers of Derry and Strabane, is a positive step in addressing this imbalance, while retaining the benefits enjoyed by everyone across our wider region.”

The funding announcement comes just days after Scottish carrier Loganair unveiled plans to extend its services at the airport with a new air link with Edinburgh.

Launching in May, it will bring the number of Loganair routes at City of Derry Airport to four, joining Glasgow, Liverpool and London Stansted.

The airport has also been boosted by the December return of Ryanair, which is now flying three times per week to Manchester.

"The north west has huge potential for businesses to invest and an abundance of potential for increased tourism,” continued Steve Frazer.

“Increased connectivity through our local airport is key to maximising the potential of this fantastic region and benefiting all who live, work and visit here.

"We trust that when our government is fully functional again, we will continue to build on this principle to set out our longer-term ambitions, enabling us to serve this region and its growth plans with confidence, without ever again looking over our shoulder to gain recognition for the wider benefits associated with this vital facility."

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