The South East Regional Airport company intends to launch a fresh
fundraising drive among the private sector to finance a ?10m runway
extension, with a view to landing commercial jets at Waterford within three
Frank O'Regan, Vice-President of Bausch & Lomb, this week backed his Genzyme
counterpart Mark Bamforth in calling for scheduled flights from Waterford to
Mr O'Regan, a former President of the local Chamber of Commerce, said that
"well-timed flights would help alleviate the difficulties being experienced
by business travellers who have no real alternative at present to using the
inadequate Waterford to Dublin road".
A planned meeting by Genzyme executives prior to the opening of the company'
s ?125m plant expansion in Waterford had to be cancelled last week when
their jet was diverted from Cork to Shannon because of fog.
The runway at Waterford airport can only take turbo-prop and light jet
planes. IDA Ireland have long since pointed to the airport's access and
commercial traffic constraints as a barrier to attracting inward investment.
An extension of the runway at Killowen to cater for larger passenger jets,
including 737s, has long been mooted. Six years after making a submission
for Government funding, airport chairman Nicky Fewer says the board is to
renew fundraising efforts for the ?10m or so needed to extend and widen the
runway - from its current length of 1433m (x 30m wide) to, ideally, around
2000m (x 45m) - over the next two to three years.
Aer Arann have previously said they would consider a Waterford-Dublin
service. The carrier already flies daily between the capital and a number of
regional airports, such as Kerry, Galway, Knock and Donegal, which have a
PSO (Public Service Obligation) licence for the Dublin route.
However, the EU Commission has previously rejected proposals for a PSO link
between Waterford and Dublin on the grounds that the distance involved is
relatively short and that the route was 'adequately served by other
Meanwhile, land CPOs for the long-awaited upgrading of the section of the
airport road outside the city boundary were published by Waterford Co
Council this week. The 5.1km realignment from Killure to just south of the
airport entrance/business park at Ballygarran will cost over ?8m.
Designed to take an eight-fold increase in traffic, it will also link the
airport to the new outer ring road and, eventually, the N25 city bypass. Mr
Fewer says the project - which will match the already upgraded 1.9km city
section from St John's Park - will "really help to integrate the airport"
with the rest of the city.