The Irish government has announced €80 million in funding for the Irish aviation sector and a new national airport charges rebate scheme that will cover the January-March 2021 period.
Cork Airport will receive €13.7 million of the €80 funding while Shannon will receive €8.4 million, and both airports along with Dublin, Knock, Kerry and Donegal airports will participate in the national airport charges rebate scheme, which will be worth €20 million.
Cork Airport Reaction
Welcoming the news of additional funding and the rebate scheme, Cork Airport managing director Niall MacCarthy said, "Engagement and action by the government in terms of funding for our sector is very welcome and appreciated.
"Cork Airport is ordinarily the second busiest and best-connected airport in the state. However, the aviation sector has been extremely hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and our business is now less than one-twentieth of what it was last year.
"On that basis, we have a long journey to travel here at Cork Airport as we seek to regrow our network and become an engine of growth for the south of Ireland economy once again.
"In that context, we strongly welcome [the] announcement of operational and capital assistance for Cork Airport and a new national airport charges rebate scheme covering the first three months of next year."
Shannon Airport Reaction
Commenting on the news in relation to Shannon Airport, Shannon Group CEO Mary Considine stated, "[The] announcement of financial support for Shannon Airport and the aviation sector is very welcome. It comes against the backdrop of the decimation suffered by the aviation sector and airports around the globe as a result of the pandemic, which has virtually grounded aviation.
"This funding will support our airport operations and our aviation partners next year as we continue to manage our way through what will be a challenging few years ahead for aviation. Together with the difficult cost containment measures we have had to put in place, the funding we will receive will allow us to navigate our way through this crisis.
"This has been a very difficult and uncertain time for our employees, and we thank them for their support throughout this challenging time. We would also like to thank ministers Naughton and Ryan and the Department of Transport, who have been extremely supportive throughout. Special thanks to our local politicians, the business community and all our stakeholders for their support in lobbying government on our behalf.
"It is important to say that this support will benefit not only the airport, but businesses in this region and along the western seaboard who rely on our airport's air services for their livelihoods. We look forward to engaging with the Department of Transport on the details of the funding allocation for Shannon."
Ireland West Airport Knock Reaction
Meanwhile, a statement published on Ireland West Airport Knock's website said, "Ireland West Airport welcomes the announcement by minister Eamon Ryan of government funding for the aviation sector and a new national airport charges rebate scheme covering the period January to March 2021.
"As part of this announcement, operational support will be provided for regional airports including Ireland West Airport to support the significant operating losses in 2020, and it is recognition by government of the importance of the airport to the region. The funding support will assist in protecting the airport’s cash position and positioning it for a recovery in air services as the Irish economy is expected to start to open up in the first half of 2021.
"The airport looks forward to working with the Department of Transport in the coming days and working through the specific details of the additional funding programme for the airport as it seeks to subvent the expected losses of close to €4 million this year with passenger traffic collapsing from 807,000 passengers in 2019 to an estimated 145,000 passengers in 2020 - a passenger level last experienced in 1995.
Ireland West Airport chairman Arthur French added, "I wish to thank the taoiseach, ministers Ryan and Naughton and our local TDs, political representatives and the Western Chambers for their strong support for the airport and the regions it serves.
"Without this ongoing support and that of our local authority shareholders, the airport would have been in a critically vunerable position through the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Furthermore, we welcome the new national airport charges rebate scheme covering the first three months of next year, which will provide support for our airline partners for the restoration of critically important air services at the airport, and support what we are confident will be a strong demand for travel once the pandemic subsides, as there remains significant demand now more than ever within the west and north west of Ireland for critically important regional connectivity with our key markets in the UK and Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal."
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