“They are looking at rationalisation of the airport..”

The BBC reports that Derry City Council Chief Executive Valerie Watts has stated that staff levels at the City of Derry Airport will be reduced, apparently without the use of compulsory redundancies. The Irish News adds that the former managing director at Belfast International Airport, Albert Harrison, has been appointed as the new airport manager, which the Council own, as they prepare to try to sell the airport make the changes. Official statement here. As for the elected representatives.. The Belfast Telegraph turns up DUP Cllr Joe Miller

“They are looking at rationalisation of the airport, they are looking at relocating if there is to be any movement there will be a relocation of people. I don’t think the word redundancy has been mentioned, this is a very positive move for the airport,” [Cllr Joe Miller] said.

[“They”? – Ed] All the reports note that the airport’s annual operating deficit has risen from £1.7million to over £4million.

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  • 4 million deficit *plus* the Republic’s govt PSO subsidy. This is masked by being coupled to the Knock PSO (a total of 13m Euro over 33 months between the two, split evenly and annualised say 2.36m p.a.)

    Close it down, spend the money saved on upgrading the Derry-Belfast rail line (including a train that arrives in Derry before 0900 on a weekday), a dedicated rail shuttle from Antrim-BFS-Lisburn (no other stops) and the speedy refit and transfer of Irish Rail’s surplus Mark 3 carriages to a beefed up Enterprise service.

  • mmo

    damn closing down an airline could cripple the area

  • iluvni

    I take it those poor peoples’ houses have long since been flattened to satisfy the vanity project of deluded Derry Councillors.

  • Rory Carr

    “Rationalisation of the airport” my ass! What was ever rational about an airport, I ask you?

    A man has to be mad to go to one those places and get onto one of those big machines expecting it to fly through the air like a bird. One glance at the size of of the bloody things surely must be enough to convince any rational human being that it is madness to try – unless at least two large spliffs and four whiskeys indulged in beforehand help to render the whole experience OZ-like so that one, quite against all the odds of reason finds oneself safely back in Kansas (or Luton at least).

  • The Raven

    The Council, in their day, were right to open and support this airport. It’s been the holding-onto part that has knackered it.

    Dunno why they bothered with the extension….there was a perfectly good site ten miles down the road at Shackleton they could have looked at….

  • The Raven

    I note that Perfecseal is threatening 300 jobs to go, though I think there’s a bit of masking going on with the recycling expansion issue.

    Seagate in Derry looking a bit shaky too, as are a few jobs at Invista/DuPont. Wonder where INI are going to spend their inward investment money now….?

  • aquifer

    “Close it down, spend the money saved on upgrading the Derry-Belfast rail line (including a train that arrives in Derry before 0900 on a weekday), a dedicated rail shuttle from Antrim-BFS-Lisburn (no other stops) and the speedy refit and transfer of Irish Rail’s surplus Mark 3 carriages to a beefed up Enterprise service.”

    Mark you would make a great minister for transport. Also for economic development, taking passengers from trainless Dublin Airport is a stroke of genius.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Close it down,

    Agreed. This airport is completely unnecessary. It needs to be privatized or closed, and Derry ratepayers need to make this clear to their council.

    spend the money saved on upgrading the Derry-Belfast rail line (including a train that arrives in Derry before 0900 on a weekday),

    That’ll cost at least £30-40 million to do, redoing all the track from Derry to Antrim (Antrim – Bleach Green – Belfast is all full-speed track). I’d like to see it done, though. A high speed rail service into Belfast, and a train station moved up next to the City Airport (with a well-lit subway connecting to the City Airport grounds underneath the A2), would be much more cost effective.

    a dedicated rail shuttle from Antrim-BFS-Lisburn (no other stops)

    What for ?

    and the speedy refit and transfer of Irish Rail’s surplus Mark 3 carriages to a beefed up Enterprise service.

    What we need is a clockface Belfast-Dublin timetable and a generator in the driving trailer to stop the head-end power burning out the locomotive. If they reduce the ticket price, make it on time and reliable, and make it regular, the Enterprise will win back the ground it has lost to the A1/M1.

  • runciter

    This airport is completely unnecessary. It needs to be privatized or closed, and Derry ratepayers need to make this clear to their council.

    Maybe the Derry ratepayers are entitled to their own opinion about that?

    Regional airports are widely recognised to be vital to regional economies across Europe. The North West of Ireland is no exception.

  • @Comrade – I wouldn’t be opposed to doing a station at BHD *as well* but I understand that is now more difficult than it could have been?

    As for the Antrim-Lisburn shuttle, I think it might be simpler to operate than the circle route proposed elsewhere and might provide a faster routing for passengers from Lisburn-Newry to access stations west of Antrim and vice versa.

    I agree entirely with your comments on Enterprise and the effect of more frequent trains – buying a batch of driving/generating trailers such as are on the new Cork-Dublin trains should have been done years ago and would have saved a lot of passengers a lot of grief. However to impose clockface will need a few more train sets, and there are about 100 Mark 3 carriages lying idle.

  • Greenflag

    A pound or two per person in NI to keep an airport in the remote north west seems probably worth it . The locals should organise charter flights from same to sunny Spain or Morrocco so that the frozen of the NW can get some direct vitamin D .

    There has to be a future for a regional airport in the NW and why not Derry ?