As a result of Covid-19, the challenge facing the aviation industry is unprecedented, and Irish airports have been fully exposed to the dramatic downturn in activity. I absolutely appreciate the effects that this could have on the long-term economic viability of airports, particularly smaller aviation enterprises like Ireland West Airport Knock.
The Government is committed to doing what it can to support the industry, while having regard to the many other demands on the Exchequer.
In order to assist business and protect employment, the Government has put in place a comprehensive suite of generalised supports for all companies, such as wage subsidy schemes, grants, low-cost loans, commercial rates waivers and deferred tax liabilities. Up to the end of August, Ireland's smallest regional airports, including Ireland West Airport Knock, had received or were in the process of applying for supports to a value of almost €700,000.
In addition, and in line with priorities for regional development, the Government is also providing €6 million in grant aid for safety and security related measures under the regional airports programme in 2020. To date this year, Ireland West Airport Knock has received over €1million in capital investment and will be eligible to apply for operational supports in the coming weeks. A new regional airports programme for 2021 to 2025 is also being finalised, which will help regional airports, like Ireland West Airport Knock, to remain viable as they begin to plan for recovery and transition away from the devastation of Covid-19.
All support mechanisms for the aviation sector will continue to be reviewed in the context of the Government’s plans for international travel, having regard to the recommendations of the aviation task force.