Irish regional airports that include Donegal, Kerry, Knock and Shannon face a combined bill of €14.3m to upgrade their baggage systems in the wake of the new EU rules, according to The Irish Times.
The new EU baggage rules will become effective from 2020. They mandate airports to install or upgrade their screening systems for passengers’ baggage with detection capabilities similar to medical CAT scans.
The new screening system provides more detailed images of the baggage compared to machines equipped with X-rays.
Ireland West Airport Knock chief executive Joe Gilmore told the publication that the airport will spend approximately €1.5m for the new screening systems.
He added that the Irish Department of Transport has sanctioned part of the initial funding for the improved baggage security system.
Kerry Airport financial controller Basil Sheerin told The Irish Times that the airport will invest nearly €1.4m for the new equipment. The airport has not requested financial support from the Department of Transport. Installation is likely to conclude in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Sheerin said: “We’ll be going for funding on it in our application in 2019.”
Similarly, Donegal Airport is planning to spend nearly €1.4m on the new screening machinery. The airport has yet to apply for funding and is also looking for Department of Transport’s financial support.
Ireland Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport Shane Ross told The Irish Times that the new system would cost state-owned Shannon Airport approximately €10m.
He added that the department is unlikely to offer financial assistance to the airport for the new system. However, he said officials were discussing the issue with Shannon, which handled 1.75 million passengers in 2017.
EU law allows the department to provide financial assistance to regional airports to meet their security needs under the legal recommendations.
However, the three state-owned airports, Cork, Dublin, and Shannon, are not entitled to receive government funding as they operate commercially.