Galway Airport could be re-opened after EU changes has made it possible for countries to grant state aid to struggling regional airports.
State aid for investment in airport infrastructure is allowed if there is a genuine transport need and to ensure accessibility to a region.
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia says access to grant aid will be higher for smaller airports than for larger ones
"For airports between one and three million passengers a year, this percentage would be 50% - for airports between three and five million passengers a year, 25%," he said.
"In the case of remote regionals, where the need for public funding may be higher, this proportion for investments can be increased by 20%."