Executive confirms £7m rescue package for City of Derry airport
The First Ministers have confirmed the Executive will provide £7million in funding to the struggling City of Derry Airport.
The Executive will provide up to £2.5m in route development support which will help transform the future of the airport and a further £4.5m capital investment in partnership with Derry and Strabane District Council aimed at creating high-value jobs and training opportunities.
The announcement comes after Ryanair - the airport's main carrier - axed flights to London and reduced the number of services to Liverpool.
The Executive has said talks are "at an advanced stage" with an airline over replacing routes from the airport.
The airport, which is owned by Derry and Strabane District Council, is currently operating at a loss of £2.145m a year.
Announcing the funding package on Monday, First Minister Arlene Foster, said: “This £7m package ensures the airport remains a key gateway to the North West for business and leisure travel.
"The council also has plans for further development which would bring employment opportunities to the area and we want to act as a catalyst for it to succeed.
"This announcement is part of our plan to help deliver economic prosperity in every part of Northern Ireland. Indeed, the plans to invest in capital works will be a welcome boost to the construction sector in the North-West as well.
"Our package of support will ultimately allow the airport to plan for the future and remain a key part of the transport infrastructure for Northern Ireland.”
Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness added: "Connectivity is a pre-requisite for economic development which made this investment in the City of Derry Airport vital.
"This £7m package will enable the City of Derry Airport to invest in route development and capital projects which will create high value jobs and training opportunities. I have been actively engaged in discussions with the City of Derry Airport and the local council for a number of weeks.
"With Ryanair’s withdrawal, having another airline in place is vital for our economic development and I am pleased discussions are at an advanced stage. I am confident this financial backing will enable the airport to not only function but flourish and serve all the people of the North-West and further afield.”