Galway Chamber of Commerce have joined with Chambers across the West of Ireland in calling on the government to provide support to keep Ireland West Airport Knock alive.
Knock Airport has seen traffic plummet by more than 80% this year from the 807,000 passengers who passed through there in 2019, creating significant financial difficulties.
Kenny Deery, CEO of Galway Chamber has stated that regional airports like Knock are of “critical importance” to the West of Ireland.
They provide, “essential connectivity to global markets for regional businesses, in providing a gateway for much needed tourists and in attracting foreign direct investment into the region”.
Galway Chamber, along with the Chambers of Sligo and Mayo, recently had a virtual meeting with Minister of State for International and Road Transport and
Logistics, Hildegarde Naughton to discuss the challenges facing the airport.
At the meeting, Joe Gilmore, Managing Director of Ireland West Airport Knock, outlined
the major issues that the airport is currently facing.
“As a result of the catastrophic collapse in passenger traffic since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Government travel restrictions, the Airport will sustain losses of close to €4 million,” Gilmore said.
He added that they are seeking, “additional funding through the Regional Airport’s programme to sustain the business through this crisis”.
While Minister Naughton highlighted the supports available for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, Galway Chamber says that these are “inadequate to address
the losses being incurred” by Knock Airport.
“The Western Business Community represented by the Chambers are calling on Government to increase the regional airports funding programme for 2020, 2021 and a longer term commitment to regional airports for the coming decade, to ensure the sustainability of the airport and the region.”