Donegal Airport at Carrickfinn
Donegal Airport is set to benefit from a major support package for the Irish aviation sector in advance of what is likely to be a very difficult winter season ahead.
The regional airports of Donegal, Knock, Kerry and Donegal, are set to share €6 million in funding.
The Government has announced an extra €48 million in supports for Irish airports in 2021, in addition to those already announced in Budget 2021.
Commenting on the support package, 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.
Marian Harkin TD, said: “Regional airports in Knock, Donegal and Kerry will get €6 million in operational supports and every penny of this was needed as the operational losses at Knock airport, for instance, already amounted to €4 million this year, she said.
Regional airports and regional connectivity were vital components of balanced regional development which was now part of Government policy, she pointed out.
“This allocation of monies to the regional airports is a recognition of their importance but it is crucial that the amounts are adequate to allow the different airports to get back up and running as the travel business slowly recovers”, Deputy Harkin said.
It was also crucial that a proper testing regime was operational in all regional airports so that passengers can use these airports safely and with confidence once air travel resumes, she concluded.
Meanwhile, 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.
Minister of State, Hildegarde Naughton TD, 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.
She added that the “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 will ensure that our regional airports can maintain the necessary core capability to conserve strategic connectivity and to quickly rebound when circumstances allow.”
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