Smart Peripheral and Remote Airports (SPARA2020) was a Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme project designed to address the challenges facing remote & peripheral airports. These airports are economically vital, providing accessibility & connectivity to residents; but with low traffic volume, strong seasonality challenges and ageing aircrafts, these airports suffer relatively higher costs of operating safely & compliantly and inevitably require state subsidy/intervention. SPARA aimed to maximise revenues at these remote & peripheral airports and increase their self-sufficiency and resilience long-term.
The Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014-2020 is co-funded by the ERDF, and more generally aims to help remote and peripheral communities on the northern margins of Europe to develop their economic, social and environmental potential. SPARA2020 was designed both to address the regions needs, but also to explore issues that have resonance beyond Northern Europe, and to develop outputs that will deliver enduring benefits after the project concludes.
HITRANS was the lead partner of the project, with other Scottish partners the University of the Highlands and Islands and Robert Gordon University. Swedish partners included Trafikverket (The Swedish Transport Administration), Sundsvall-Timrå Airport and Storuman Municipality, and the Northern Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) of Ireland represented airports such as Donegal and Ireland West (Knock) in the project. Molde University College in Norway and the University of Sydney in Australia were also project partners, adding to the academic insight of the project alongside the above mentioned RGU and UHI.