The Chairperson of the City of Derry Airport Board, Albert Harrison, has welcomed the financial support package that has been announced today to cover all operational costs of City of Derry Airport on a temporary basis.
Mr Harrison said the financial support package, announced earlier this morning by the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, followed weeks of negotiations and collaborative working between the CODA Board, Council officials, the Department for Transport and the NI Executive to bring it forward.
He said the support package will secure jobs and services at the City of Derry Airport and provide financial assistance to ensure critical connectivity to and from City of Derry Airport can continue during the period of pandemic.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Michaela Boyle, also welcomed the investment saying: “This is a very welcome announcement for the City of Derry Airport and for Derry City and Strabane District Council. This investment will safeguard jobs and provide temporary financial stability during the current COVID-19 response period. It will also allow for routes, which are vital for those who need to travel, to continue to operate.”
The Mayor added that the funding package was good news for Airport staff and for the wider connectivity of the North West region.
“This significant investment will greatly assist CODA in keeping the airport open and operational and allow for the essential travel of key workers and those in need of emergency travel at this time. It will also allow for connectivity between the North West City region of Ireland and London to continue.
“All airports have suffered as a result of COVID-19 and while CODA remains open and operational, it has seen a reduction in the number of services and a decline in passengers over the past number of weeks as a result of service disruption and restrictions on travel imposed as a result of the pandemic. Today’s financial assistance will assist CODA in continuing those services in the short-term and keeping people across the wider North West region connected.”
The Mayor also welcomed the collaborative approach taken by CODA in working alongside other local airports to jointly lobby all departments in the NI Executive and the UK government for this much needed financial assistance.
Steve Frazer, Airport Manager for City of Derry Airport commented: “Today’s announcement of support from the Secretary of State for Transport and the Northern Ireland Executive provides immediate stability for City of Derry Airport to continue delivering vital connectivity at a critical time for essential workers in support of the fight against COVID-19.”
He continued, “The wider recognition and support from all areas of government underpins much of what CoDA have consistently contributed towards connectivity and regional development. This remains fundamental, in the North-West as we move towards the recovery phase and investing for the future.”
At present a daily return service from City of Derry Airport to London Stansted is operating (excluding Saturdays), serving NHS staff and other essential travellers. Updates on flights to Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh will follow when airline schedules are amended.