A new survey has indicated there’s a demand for a new Derry to Dublin air service.
A new service would provide a considerable boost for business and tourism in the north west by cutting travel times to Dublin and allowing users to connect to worldwide flights out of Dublin.
It would also allow quick access from the north west to services centred in Dublin such as healthcare, entertainment and sports.
Flights between Derry and Dublin, which were subsidised by a public service obligation payment from the Government, ended in 2011.
Aer Arann was the last airline to fly the route, and many Inishowen and other Donegal users availed for the service.
In 2016 it was hoped that Citywing Aviation Services would run a service.
However, Brexit intervened and the plan was shelved. Citywing stopped trading and went into liquidation.
Also, Public service obligation (PSO) routes were a victim of post-Celtic Tiger cutbacks more than ten years ago, but have been restored on a number of routes since, including Dublin-Carrickfin in west Donegal and from Dublin-Kerry until the latter was taken over as a commercial proposition by Ryanair.
Now a survey conducted by City of Derry Airport has over 90 per cent of respondents in favour of a Derry-Dublin service.
The benefit of business growth and investment in the north west has been estimated by consultants York Aviation as in excess of €46m.
In the survey 46 per cent said that they would use the service for business purposes; 93 per cent stated they would use it for leisure.
Interestingly, two thirds of the respondents indicated that they would use the service for travel to Dublin and to connect to worldwide flights.
The average response to the survey was that a user would use the route three times a year; the response for business use was higher.
Having a one-hour connection to Dublin would open up direct investment into the north west and provide quick access for both tourists and business-people to Donegal.
Any move to back the route lies with the Department of Transport and the British
government and could be put in place under the New Decade New Approach agreement between the two governments.