Multi-million pound package agreed for City of Derry Airport

First and Deputy First Ministers, Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness were in Derry's Bogside yesterday to launch the new Urban Villages. They are pictured with Eva McDaid from Gaelscoil Eadain Mhoir and Sam Hughes from the Fountain Primary School. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin.
Seamus McKinney

A MULTI-MILLION pound funding package has been agreed for City of Derry Airport.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he is confident the funding will safeguard the airport's future growth.

While the deal has been agreed by the Stormont Executive, full details will not be released until later.

The development comes after it was announced that low-cost airline, Ryanair intended dropping its Derry to London Stanstead route from early next year. Ryanair also intends dropping its annual summer flights from Derry to Faro in Portugal.

City of Derry has struggled for many years and is currently supported by rate payers in Derry and Strabane with an annual subvention of £2.15 million. It is believed the new deal will help put the facility on an even footing.

Business and political interests in the north west believe the airport is vital if foreign investment is to be attracted to the region.

Mr McGuinness said it would help safeguard the airport’s future and would ensure growth.

“It’s a multi-million project. It’s about saving the airport. But not just saving the airport, we believe that within what we are trying to do – and of course we haven’t disclosed our full plans for the airport - the plans are broader than just getting air links to London.

"We are absolutely satisfied at this stage that we can make a success of the City of Derry Airport,” he said.

It was also revealed yesterday that the Department of Transport in London was favourably considering an application to operate public service obligation (PSO) flights from Derry to London.

If the Department sanctioned the move, it could mean two to three flights daily to London from next year, according to chief executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council, John Kelpie.

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