AMBITIOUS plans for Londonderry’s regional airport envisage the number of passenger journeys multiplying from 400k per year to 1.2million by 2030 and the facility’s contribution to the Northern Ireland economy rising to £35m by 2022.
Plans are also afoot for a new aviation business park at Eglinton and a hotel and conference centre.
The plans are contained in a new airport Master Plan, which has been put out for public consultation until February.
According to the plan: “An area is proposed to deliver an Aviation Business Park, accessed off Clooney Road, to the south of Runway 20. This area is capable of accommodating hangar/business units with apron space for loading and unloading of aircraft.
“The Business Park will provide a mix of offices and light industrial uses in close proximity to the Airport, delivering a mix of employment opportunities.”
The plan also contains proposals for a hotel and ocnfernece facility and a petrol station.
The proposals are part of ambitious expansion plans that although hoping to substantially increase the airports reach above and beyond 10 European destinations will not require a runway extension until 2030 at the earliest.
“We believe that by 2030 approximately 1.2million passenger journeys will start or finish at City of Derry Airport (CODA),” the airports management believes.
“Accommodating this level of demand with facilities that reflect the qualities and standards of service sought by the region will require capital investment.”
The report forecasts the airport’s contribution to the local economy rising to £14m per year and its contribution to the NI economy over twice that to £35m.
“We forecast that the contribution that CoDA will make to the local economy will increase from the current level of £7 million per annum to over £14 million per annum,” the report explains.
The authors of the master plan state: “In terms of its operations, CoDA aims to: achieve a throughput of 1.2 million passengers per annum by the year 2030 through new route development and the growth of existing services; aspire to a throughput of 1.6 million passengers up to 2050; operate and develop the Airport in a manner that ensures full compliance with the safety and security requirements of regulatory bodies including the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and DfT; operate to the highest standards of performance and efficiency, incorporating the best models of good practice for customer care, aircraft handling and commercial development; maximise the use of existing land within the ownership of the Airport for aviation related uses and associated activities as a source of additional revenue; and achieve established targets in terms of operating costs and income generation in order to reduce subvention and improve future profitability.”
Future profitability will be aided by a proposed new three star hotel. Eglinton airport currently lacks such a facility.
“The site for a new hotel with conference facilities is proposed on brownfield land, immediately to the south of the expanded terminal building,” the report suggests.
“This is likely to comprise a three star facility with up to 150 bedrooms and cater for both the business and tourist traveller.
“As this site is located outside the ownership of CoDA, implementation of such a use is likely to be market driven and implemented by a private developer,” the report adds.
Interestingly, although DRD is currnently on record as saying there is no money for a rail link-up, the masterplan is putting one on the long-finger.
“In the short term, a railway halt at CoDA is unlikely to be viable however, as a long term objective, this is included in the Master Plan,” the report states.
“An indicative location for a potential rail link has therefore been identified should it be become economically and operationally feasible in the future.”