A GOVERNMENT decision to omit Shannon from a €14 million Government funding scheme for regional airports has been severely criticised by a local business leader.
Shannon Chamber chief executive Helen Downes said that if the government is serious about regional development, then Shannon should be getting supports in line with other regional airports.
“Shannon is challenged by a lack of support around capital expenditure projects and it is in the process of investing €20 million in safety and security projects from its own resources. This is funding that would have been better invested in securing new routes and services to feed the regional economy,” she said.
Funding has been announced for airports in Knock, Donegal and Kerry with Waterford getting a grant of €5 million towards a €12 million runway extension, even though the airport currently has no commercial flights.
‘Shannon currently receives no support, even though under EU rules, as an airport with less than three million passengers, it should be able to access such funds,” Ms Downes said.
Last week Norwegian confirmed it will not be running its transatlantic service from Shannon for the rest of 2019, representing a loss of 120,000 seats for the airport.
Ms Downes said the decision is a blow not just for the airport but for the region and she called on everyone in the Mid West to support the airport by using the existing 30 routes and by word of mouth.
“Without passengers, there is no airport. People grow routes, not airlines,” she said.