40 years of flights at Galway airport come to an end as councils buy site

Galway’s days as an airport city ended yesterday.

After 40 years of flights in and out of the airport at Carnmore, on the outskirts of the city, it was confirmed yesterday that the licence is to be handed back to the Department of Transport.

Galway City and County Councils have agreed to purchase the airport for €1.1m. The 115-acre site will cease to function as an airport in the coming weeks.

An airstrip, runway, and other infrastructure were built in the early 1970s. Aer Arann began commercial operations there in 1974.

The site has been used solely for private aviation since 2011 after the withdrawal of State funding.

Galway City Council and Galway County Council said the purchase was agreed yesterday. It presented both local authorities with the opportunity to develop “an excellent brown-field site on the outskirts of the city for the future economic development of the city, county, and region”.

The purchase includes 115 acres of land, the former terminal building, and two hangars. Any future use of the land and other assets to facilitate and support economic development will have to be agreed jointly by both councils.

Galway Chamber of Commerce, the majority shareholder in the airport, said the airport was no longer viable as a passenger facility without government subvention.

It said the proceeds from the sale would be used to pay creditors and there would be no debt attached to the facility.

Chamber president Jim Fennell said “a satisfactory arrangement” had been arrived at with the airport’s main creditors — two banks and the Department of Transport.

The five employees currently working at the airport will be made redundant as a result of the sale and will receive statutory redundancy payments.


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