The three State-owned airports have called on the Government to scale back funding for regional airports including Donegal.
The call comes amid claims that such financial supports are not delivering value for money.
The Dublin Airport Authority and Shannon Group operate Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports.
They claim the State subvention provided to four regional airports needs to be reduced under a new Regional Airports Programme (RAP) 2020-2024 in order to comply with the objective of the Government’s National Aviation Policy to phase out funding operational expenditure at unviable airports by 2024.
A total of €23.9 million was provided to Donegal, Kerry, Ireland West Airport Knock and Waterford between 2015 and 2018 under different funding schemes.
A further €30 million was provided to airlines for operating essential services to Kerry and Donegal under a Public Service Obligation (PSO) scheme.
However, the four regional airports have all called for the retention of the current level of supports as vital for ensuring their sustainability and supporting rural connectivity.
In a submission, the Shannon Group said there has been no analysis carried out to date on displacement arising from the existing programme.
“Displacement of air services from non-subsidised State airports to subsidised private airports would suggest that the effectiveness of the RAP is questionable,” it remarked.
The Shannon Group said transatlantic traffic at Shannon could be impacted by passengers from its catchment area using PSO routes to connect to US flights via Dublin.
It claimed there was little information available to assess what steps regional airports were taking to reduce their dependence on State supports while funding for capital projects was being made available without consideration of their existing spare capacity.
“Given the size of Ireland, the State needs to consider the capacity that currently exists in the aviation landscape rather than funding capacity expansions that may not have sufficient demand or which will displace services from other airports,” it added.