Strategic Development Zone confirmed for Knock airport

AN Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has confirmed that the cabinet has given the go-ahead to designate Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK) as a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ).

The proposal to make an order for the Ireland West Airport Knock Strategic Development Zone was agreed at the cabinet’s weekly meeting this morning (Tuesday).

Speaking following the meeting, Mr. Kenny stated: “I am delighted to confirm that a Strategic Development Zone for Knock airport has been approved by cabinet. Today’s decision will secure the long-term development of Ireland West Airport Knock as well as attracting enterprise to the area and the provision of further employment possibilities for the people of Mayo.”

An SDZ is an area of land that is proposed to contain developments of economic or social importance to the State. Consideration of the SDZ designation for IWAK is focused on maximising certainty in planning for development related to air services and supporting the required infrastructure.

Mr. Kenny continued: “Our airport is growing at an extraordinary rate, indeed the fastest in the country, with an increase in passenger numbers of 9.1% compared to the same time last year. With such growth comes great opportunities for the creation of business and employment however, we must also be cognisant of the associated challenges including the provision of infrastructure.

The designation of the airport as an SDZ will help plan for expansion whilst ensuring any future challenges are carefully addressed.”

In 2015, the National Aviation Policy reiterated the importance of Ireland West Airport Knock and also acknowledged that the airport plays a more regional role in terms of access than other airports given its location in the northwest. The proposed SDZ will secure the future of the airport as an all-important hub for transport, tourism, business and employment in Co. Mayo and the northwest.