City of Derry Airport facing £2.5m funding shortfall

City of Derry Airport
City of Derry Airport

City of Derry Airport is facing a £2.5 million shortfall in funding because of the continuing impasse at Stormont, Derry City and Strabane District Council has learned.

The airport was promised the money by the Northern Ireland Executive in 2016 to help it develop new routes, but it was never delivered following the suspension of the Executive in January last year.

The council’s assurance, audit and risk committee was told: “The development of new routes for CODA Operations Ltd was a key risk and challenge for 2017/2018 and continues to be for 2018/19.

“Council was awarded £2.5m from the Northern Ireland Executive in October 2016 for route development; however, the council have not been able to access this funding due to the current political uncertainty.

“Council officers have completed all relevant tender documents to secure a new PSO route and have passed all necessary documentation to departmental officials.

“Letters have been sent to the Permanent Secretary and Secretary of State from the Chief Executive and the Chairman of the Board requesting an urgent release of the funding.

“Adequate budgetary provision has been made for 2017/18 and 2018/19.”

Independent councillor Paul Gallagher said: “We do not have £2.5 million in the bank that we can call on to cover this.

“We are continually writing letters but all that ever happens is that we get a letter back saying that our correspondence has been noted over and over again.

“Will we still be sitting here in February in the same position and find that the only way that we can find this money is to go back to the ratepayers?

“I want to know what our MP is doing about this situation.

“If there are not direct actions on this, then there is no other option but to ask the ratepayers to pay.”