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Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 February 2021

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Questions (22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 31, 32, 35)

Seán Canney

Question:

22. Deputy Seán Canney asked the Minister for Transport his plans to help support the aviation industry including airlines during the Covid-19 restrictions. [6143/21]

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Colm Burke

Question:

23. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Transport if additional financial supports will be made available to Irish airlines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6157/21]

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Paul McAuliffe

Question:

24. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Transport his plans for sector specific supports for aviation given the continued suppression of international travel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6042/21]

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Emer Higgins

Question:

28. Deputy Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Transport if he will engage with Irish airlines to ensure their future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6093/21]

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Cian O'Callaghan

Question:

29. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Transport if he will take measures similar to those taken in other countries such as New Zealand and the UK to provide additional support and funding for airlines and their staff who are struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6111/21]

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Joan Collins

Question:

31. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Transport if financial supports for airlines have been considered especially given air travel will be suppressed up to at least late summer 2021. [6139/21]

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Cathal Crowe

Question:

32. Deputy Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Transport if further supports beyond the €80 million package announced in November 2020 will be made available to the Irish aviation industry. [6140/21]

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Marian Harkin

Question:

35. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Transport the further supports being put in place to assist the aviation industry and all those employed in the sector (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6161/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 31, 32 and 35 together.

The Government has put in place a range of supports for businesses, including those in the aviation sector. The supports include the wage subsidy scheme, alleviation of commercial rates, deferred tax liabilities, the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme, the Credit Guarantee Scheme, and the SBCI Working Capital Scheme.

As regards supports specifically targeted at the protection of employment, the Employment Wage Subsidy Schemes (EWSS) has been a key component of the Government's response to the COVID-19 crisis to support viable firms and encourage employment amid these very challenging times. The EWSS higher subsidy rate will apply until 31 March 2021. The scheme will continue during 2021 and the Government will decide on the form of its extension when economic conditions are clearer, guided by what the economy requires at that time to support the expected economic recovery.

In November, the Government also agreed a revised €80 million funding package specifically for Irish aviation in recognition of the very difficult circumstances facing the sector. My Department is currently engaging with the European Commission regarding formal approval of this package which will be implemented in line with EU State aid rules.

Any additional supports designed to facilitate growth of air traffic can only be progressed at the appropriate time, taking account of the outlook for the easing of travel restrictions and improving wider epidemiological conditions.

My Department will continue to monitor the financial impact of COVID-19 on the Irish aviation sector on an ongoing basis, in consultation with all key stakeholders and relevant Government Departments.

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