€5,392,334 will be allocated to the six regional airports to cover a portion of their operating costs incurred in 2011. The 2011 funding will be allocated under the Regional Airports Operational Expenditure (OPEX) Subvention Scheme to the airports at Donegal, Sligo, Ireland West Airport Knock, Galway, Kerry and Waterford.
However, all regional airports are expected to work towards achieving operational viability over the coming years. Because of the need to make the best use of scarce Exchequer resources, Galway and Sligo airports will only receive operational and capital funding for 2011. Ireland West Airport Knock, Kerry Airport, Waterford South East Regional Airport and Donegal Airport will be eligible for funding up to the end of 2014. Ongoing support during this period will depend on the availability of funds.
This 2011 operational funding scheme covers regional airports for a given range of costs arising from core airport services, but only when these costs cannot be fully recovered from their own income.
Capital funding is also being extended to four of the six regional airports until December 2014. Approval was recently received from the European Commission to extend the 2006-2010 Capital Expenditure Grant Scheme and provide €17 million in capital grants over the next three years.
The capital funding focuses on safety and security projects, which aim to ensure that each airport can comply with the latest national and international aviation safety and security standards. Grant aid at 90% is provided for projects designed to meet the requirements of the Irish Aviation Authority, and of the Aviation Security Division in the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport.
This funding covers a range of projects such as instrument landing systems and other navigational aids, fire-fighting equipment, and runway end safety areas, which are designed to cope with aircraft that overrun or undershoot the runway.