Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Manx government plan to pass Ronaldsway Airport to private firm

Ronaldsway Airport terminal Image copyright MANX SCENES
Image caption Ronaldsway Airport is currently run as part of the Department of Infrastructure

The Isle of Man's Ronaldsway Airport could be run at arm's length from government in the future, politicians have said.

Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan said the move had been backed "in principle" and could save taxpayers £1m.

The airport, which is currently part of the Department of Infrastructure (DOI), makes an annual loss of £3.7m.

A detailed plan of how the changes could be rolled out will be presented to Tynwald in April 2020.

The change would mostly likely see the airport remain in public ownership but run on a commercial basis by a private operator.

It would mirror the government's involvement with the Steam Packet Company, which came under public ownership last year, but is also operated at arm's length.

However, concerns have been raised about a potential increase in charges at the airport, such as fees for parking, picking-up and dropping-off and arrangements for taxis.

Ramsey MHK Alex Allinson said he hoped the airport would not come to be seen as "a cash cow to be milked".

Supporting the plans, DOI Minister Ray Harmer said a "different approach" to running the airport "might look better" and more research was needed first.

Douglas East MHK Chris Robertshaw said the Treasury was "being completely rational, stable and sensible".

"It's a very modest proposal that should enjoy our complete support," he added.

Mr Cannan said a private operator could "take the airport to a better place".

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