City of Derry Airport talks 'advanced' in bid to attract new airline
The Executive has said talks are "at an advanced stage" with an airline over replacing routes to the struggling City of Derry Airport (CoDA).
The announcement comes after the airport's main carrier, budget airline Ryanair, said it was axing flights to London and cutting the number of services to Liverpool.
Yesterday, the Executive confirmed it would be giving a £7m handout to help CoDA with its growth and development.
In a joint statement the First and Deputy First Ministers said the funding would help secure the future of the Derry facility.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, a native of the city, said the investment was "vital" as "connectivity is a prerequisite for economic development".
"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," he said.
He added: "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."
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 airport, which is owned by Derry and Strabane District Council, is currently operating at a loss of £2.145m a year.