Minister at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton has announced that a review of the Regional Airports Programme (RAP) will shortly commence with a view to boosting traffic to the regions and support balanced regional development.
Speaking from the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Athlone today, Minister Naughton said we are incredibly lucky in Ireland to have such a reliable network of regional airports across the country.
“While I provided significant funding to our airports in Shannon, Cork, Donegal and Knock through the RAP in recent years, I would like us to rethink how we can better utilise these airports into the future.
“Dublin Airport continues to see a strong recovery following Covid-19 and projections show exponential growth in the years ahead; a fact which is to be welcomed as our biggest airport.
“However, our airports outside of Dublin have a lot to offer, providing access points for both tourism and business and it is my view that we need to consider measures that may encourage a better distribution of air traffic across the country.
“I will shortly commence a mid-term review of the Regional Airports Programme which will look at how the scheme is performing, principally in light of promoting better regional development.
“I am keen to hear how people think we can explore better connectivity to and from our regions and how this can be maintained and enhanced. I will shortly ask my Department to commence this mid-term review of the RAP which will involve a public consultation.
“In anticipation for this, I am inviting all interested parties, including tourism and hospitality sectors, chambers of commerce and so on, to share their initial views which will inform the issues paper that will be published as part of the public consultation,” Minister Naughton said.