The Department’s Airports Division’s main role and responsibilities includes the formulation and implementation of Irish airports policy, the corporate governance of the three State airports and the administration of a number of financial support schemes for the regional airports and regional air services serving those airports.
The Department’s strategic objective with regard to Irish airports is to ensure the sustainable development of airports, and to ensure appropriate levels of connectivity to support Ireland’s economic and social goals.
Specific objectives are to:
- Facilitate the optimum structure that will ensure a strong network of State Airports.
- Improve the airport regulatory regime to ensure efficiency and effectiveness as well as accountability and transparency.
- Encourage the State Airports to maintain competitive charges and incentives.
- Consolidate Exchequer support for four regional airports.
Other functions currently being carried out by Airports Division include:
Drafting of legislation for the merger of Shannon Airport Authority and a restructured Shannon Development in co-operation with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
Liaising with U.S. authorities on on-going U.S. preclearance issues at Shannon and Dublin Airports.
Chairing the bi-annual National Facilitation (FAL) Committee which comprises key stakeholders in the aviation sector with the overall aim of improving the passenger experience at our airports.
The Department oversees the corporate governance of the Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airport Authorities which are 100% owned by the State. It also has primary responsibility for the shareholder function in respect of the three State Airports.
Exchequer support relating to Ireland’s regional airports (Donegal, Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK), Kerry and Waterford) is provided through the Regional Airports Programme 2015-2019. That financial support is administered by the Department through three separate schemes –
- A Regional Airports Capital Expenditure Grant (CAPEX) Scheme
- A Core Airport Management Operational Expenditure Subvention (OPEX) Scheme
- A Public Service Obligation (PSO) Air Services Scheme
All funding of regional airports by the State must comply with EU Guidelines on State Aid to airports and airlines.