I am aware that Covid 19 has had a devastating and sudden impact on daa’s business and can confirm to the Deputy that both I and Minister Eamon Ryan have engaged with daa Senior Management, including its Chief Executive Officer, with regard to the challenges facing the Group.
In order to assist businesses and further protect employment, the Government has put in place a comprehensive suite of generalised supports for companies of all sizes, including those in the aviation sector, which includes the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (and its predecessor the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme), a waiver of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities. The daa is availing of these supports which assist the Group in addressing some of the impacts of Covid-19.
These supports notwithstanding, our airports and other aviation stakeholders have had to implement significant cost saving measures. I am aware of the very difficult decisions daa Group, as a commercial State body, has had to take in response to the impacts Covid-19 has had on the Company. These decisions were taken in order to best ensure the airport’s long-term commercial viability as a key piece of State infrastructure.
Looking to the future, the Aviation Recovery Taskforce set out recommendations for consideration by Ministers and Government on what needs to be done to assist the Irish aviation sector to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. The Taskforce report contains a number of recommendations on how to support Irish aviation, which has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. The recommendations include measures to sustain the industry for so long as travel restrictions are in place and also measures to help stimulate a return to growth, when the time is right.
The Government has already implemented several recommendations, including the publication of safe air travel protocols, the progression of a European slot rule waiver for airlines in consultation with the European Commission, and the extension of wage subsidy scheme to end April 2021.
The other recommendations including further targeted financial supports to help reinstate connectivity, regional development and sustainability in the sector, are being developed by my Department.