Call to close 'expensive failure' City of Derry airport

CITY of Derry airport should be closed due to falling passenger numbers, a Conservative assembly candidate has said.

Roger Lomas, who is standing in West Tyrone, claimed the airport had been "an expensive failure".

"Ten of millions of pounds have been invested over the years in this crazy vanity project - money that could and should have been used to build a bypass around Dungiven 20 years ago."

Mr Lomas said figures from the Civil Aviation Authority showed passenger numbers at the airport outside Derry are continuing to fall.

"The passenger numbers have fallen each year for the last seven years and the financial cost runs in millions of pounds - all of which is added to the rates bills of people in Strabane and Derry," he said.

"People in Omagh and Strabane are voting with their feet and using the Belfast airports and Dublin - all of which have seen passenger numbers rise markedly this year."

City of Derry Airport insisted it provides vital links to the north west.

A spokesman said the fall in passenger numbers "can be attributed to changes and reductions to the flight schedule by an operator and a very challenging economic climate in the aviation industry".

He added that the airport had secured funding for a new Derry to Dublin service starting in April.…