The Irish Government has today announced an €80M support package for the Irish aviation sector in recognition of the very difficult winter season ahead. This will be an extra €48 million in supports for 2021, in addition to those announced in Budget 2021. The Department of Transport will provide further operational and capital funding supports of €22M for Cork and Shannon Airport, which is in addition to the €10m in capital funding announced in Budget 2021. For the smaller regional airports of Ireland West, Kerry and Donegal, in addition to the €21M in funding available under the Regional Airports Programme for 2021, further operational support of €6M will be made available.
Commenting on the support package announced today, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said “The Government is fully alert to the devastating impact of the global pandemic on international travel and values the critical role that Aviation plays in the Irish economy. It is expected that it may be some time before it is possible to permit a large scale return to air travel, but we remain committed to ensuring that the aviation sector can maintain the necessary core capability to retain strategic connectivity and to quickly rebound when circumstances allow. In addition to the general Covid-19 supports, such as the wage support scheme, and targeted aviation funding already committed in Budget 2021, I welcome the fact that the Government today approved this department’s proposal for an additional €48M funding for the sector, focusing in particular on Cork and Shannon and our smaller regional airports which are important contributors to the economics of their regions. The Government has also decided that a study should be undertaken to assess the potential for a rail link from Shannon Airport and Shannon town to the Dublin Limerick rail line.”
Also speaking was Minister of State, Hildegarde Naughton TD, who said “It goes without saying that 2020 has been a difficult one for the aviation sector in its entirety, both for those employed directly and for businesses who rely on the sector, pilots and cabin crew, the staff at our airports, engineers, the ground-handling crew, the fuelling companies, disability service handlers and catering staff. Today’s decision to provide additional supports to our airports further demonstrates the Government’s intention to protect and preserve Ireland’s strategic connectivity. This year and into 2021 the State will have provided in excess of €180m in supports for the aviation sector. The funding package being announced today will ensure that our regional airports can maintain the necessary core capability to conserve strategic connectivity and to quickly rebound when circumstances allow. ”