Transport Minister Shane Ross today announced a plan to inject €5m of central government money to extend the runway at Waterford Airport. The runway, when extended from its existing length of 1,433 metres to 2,280 metres, will be able to accommodate large commercial passenger aircraft such as Boeing 737s and Airbus 320s.
Glanbia, Coolmore Stud, Dawn Meats, as well as other investors are being asked to put up €5m to help extend the runway at Waterford Airport, with the central government and local authorities stumping up a further €7m, to restart commercial flights in the region. Local authorities in Waterford, Kilkenny, and Wexford will invest €2m of the €12m to revamp the airport.
Minister Ross said formal confirmation of the funding was dependent on the airport being able to demonstrate that the project can be delivered for €12m. The €5m in public money will only be paid when the runway is confirmed as ready for service by the Irish Aviation Authority, he said.
The operators of Waterford Airport say the €5m State investment in the facility will be paid back in less than four years. Chairperson of the airport Board Dan Browne said that a PWC report into the viability of the airport suggested investment could lead to the employment of 100 people and generate an annual income of €4.5m. Mr Browne said: “If we get 5,000 overseas visitors the State will make €730,000 every year. There is also 100 direct and indirect jobs.”