The NI Executive has announced details of a multi-million pounds funding package to support City of Derry Airport.
Up to £7 million worth of support will be provided to assist development and growth around the airport at Eglinton.
The move follows Ryanair’s decision to axe its popular Derry to London route and cut back on its service to Liverpool.
It’s understood talks to find another airline to replace Ryanair are at an advanced stage.
The powersharing Executive will provide up to £2.5 million in route development support which it hopes will help transform the future of the airport. There will be a further £4.5 million capital investment in partnership with Derry and Strabane District Council aimed at creating high-value jobs and training opportunities.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness says connectivity is a pre-requisite for economic development and, as such, the £7 million investment at the airport is vital.
“This £7 million 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. “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.”
First Minister Arlene Foster believes the £7 million package will ensure the airport remains a key gateway to the North West for business and leisure travel.
She says the Council also has plans for further development which will bring employment opportunities to the area.
“We want to act as a catalyst for it to succeed,”she added.
“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.”