Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Airport Policy

Photo of David CullinaneDavid Cullinane (Waterford, Sinn Fein)
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116. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to provide the latest update on the Government’s response to the business plan received from Waterford Airport for the development and re-establishment of commercial passenger flight business into Waterford and the south east; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13120/24]

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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In June 2019, the Government at that time gave an approval in principle of an expression of support for an expansion proposal at Waterford Airport and to providing Exchequer funding of €5 million towards a runway extension project. Government support was not only contingent on local authority and private investment necessary to complete the project being committed and any risks relating to cost escalation being borne by the non-State investors, but also on full details of the project being provided to my Department for appraisal.

This detail remained outstanding from Waterford Airport until 13 December 2023. Furthermore, the detail provided shows that the project costs have increased substantially above the original estimated cost of €12 million, deviating significantly from the original Government Decision in 2019.

While I recognise that an early and positive decision is being sought by the airport in relation to its proposal, the necessary appraisal of the detail submitted, to ensure that due diligence is exercised in accordance with my Department’s Transport Appraisal Framework and the Public Spending Code/Infrastructure Guidelines, is essential.

I wish to assure the Deputy that my officials have prioritised this appraisal and an initial assessment of the detail submitted by the airport was completed in mid-February. As would be expected under any appraisal process, a number of clarification requests and questions seeking further detail have been raised by my Department. My officials have engaged with the airport on these matters, and I understand that airport management anticipate that they will be in a position to provide the necessary detail and clarifications this month.

I will consider my Department's initial assessment of this proposal when this engagement with the airport is complete.


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