Sinn Féin delegation meet Waterford Airport management to discuss future development
Senator David Cullinane led a Sinn Fein delegation today to meet with the CEO and General Manager of Waterford Airport. The Sinn Fein delegation included Senator David Cullinane, Cllr Pat Fitzgerald, Cllr Jim Griffen and Conor McGuinness, P.A. to Liadh Ni Riadh MEP.
The meeting discussed the short term difficulties facing the airport, the importance of the airport to Waterford and the Southeast and the need for a long term sustainable strategy.
Speaking after the meeting Senator Cullinane said:
"Sinn Fein recognises the importance and value of the airport to the economy of Waterford and the Southeast. Despite difficulties facing airports and the aviation industry Waterford Airport saw a 17% increase in passenger numbers in 2014. This is a remarkable achievement and credit must go to the airport management, staff and the board. However serious challenges have emerged with Flybe pulling out of the airport early this year. Every effort is being made by the management and board to find an alternative carrier and reopen routes with the UK.
"The airport is of vital importance to Waterford and the region. It has the potential to boost tourist numbers and to continue to act as a gateway for the region to London, the UK and Europe. It also provides a range of other services including acting as a base for the Coast Guard search and rescue operations for the Southeast. The Airport has plans to expand the runway to accommodate larger aircraft thus expanding potential at the Airport. This is vital and needs to be supported by Government. Previous commitments made under Transport 21 need to be re examined and delivered upon where appropriate. This must involve greater capital investment as a recognition of the strategic and economic importance of the airport.
"Recent commitments made by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in respect of Knock Airport open up possibilities. The Taoiseach has agreed to grant aid up to 90% of the infrastructural works needed at the airport. This must also apply to Waterford as we must have a fair and level playing field. I have tabled a Seanad motion for next week on this important issue and I will take the opportunity to challenge the Minister."