Business groups in Kerry have begun a campaign to maintain Government support for the daily Kerry to Dublin air service.
Transport and Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar is bring urged to retain the public service obligation grant on the route.
The obligation is effectively a subsidy to airlines to provide services between Dublin and regional airports.
Passenger numbers on the Kerry to Dublin route are up 22% in the last six months of 2013.
The current public service obligation is coming to the end of a fixed three-year term in November.
Mr Varadkar is due to shortly finalise the Government’s new aviation policy, which will include recommendations about the future structures of regional airports.
Under the current contract, two return services operate daily between Kerry and Dublin.
A decision on whether to maintain the current public service obligation structure is due to be made in the coming weeks.
The campaign is supported by interest groups and businesses including the chambers of commerce in Dingle, Kenmare, Killarney, Listowel, and Tralee, the Irish Hotels Federation, Kerry Group, Fexco, Kerry County Council, the Rose of Tralee committee, Kerry Technology Park, Institute of Technology Tralee, IDA, and the Irish Tour Operators Association of Ireland.
Campaign spokesman Tom Randles said: “The reason why so many commercial and voluntary organisations have come together is because we depend on Kerry to Dublin air access.
‘’Flight services from Kerry Airport are a vital part of the region’s transport infrastructure. They connect Kerry businesses to economic markets in Dublin and internationally.
‘’The service makes Kerry more accessible to investors and tourists. It also helps the wider public in Kerry to access crucial services outside of the county, including healthcare treatment.
“For tourism in particular, strong transport links like the Dublin to Kerry route are key to attracting visitors to the county. Given that the service connects, too, with other services operated by Aer Lingus, particularly trans-atlantic services, means Kerry is more accessible to thousands of people.”
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