An artist's impression of the airport proposed for Tubber.

Tubber airport 'almost ready to go to next stage'

The man behind the ambitious plan to build an international airport in the Horseleap/Tubber area says that the project is “almost ready to go to the next stage”.

Speaking to the Offaly Independent on Wednesday, the day after a new Midlands Airport Developments facebook page had been set up, Patrick Little said that a major announcement would be made in the coming weeks regarding plans the airport, a project that the Tullamore-based architect first mooted almost a decade ago.

“We hope to have more news in the coming weeks. The project never went away. We have been working on it consistently. It’s progressing and we hope to have some news.”

It is believed that Mr Little has been meeting with landowners in the Horsleap and Tubber areas in recent months. In 2010, An Bord Pleanala judged that the proposed airport does constitute strategic infrastructure development (SID), which, Mr Little says is “very significant”. He also said that the planning body’s decision not to grant SID status to an ancillary commercial development on the airport’s campus was expected.

“A lot of work has been done. We are almost ready to go to the next stage. It’s very positive.”

In the submission made to An Bord Pleanala, Midlands Airport Development Ltd stated that, if given the go ahead the airport had the potential to create 2,000 direct jobs and 2,600 indirect jobs.

The submission also claimed that the airport will “improve greater international connectivity for the region’, act as 'a reliever airport to Dublin airport assisting it in reaching more effective capacities’ and increase competition in the Irish aviation market”.