Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (151, 175, 182)

Alan Dillon

Question:

151. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Transport the measures being taken to support the aviation sector in Ireland; the supports that have been issued to Irish airlines; the engagement that has taken place with representative bodies of airline staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6962/21]

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Catherine Connolly

Question:

175. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Transport if representations by staff of companies (details supplied) highlighting the ongoing uncertainty of the Irish aviation sector have been brought to his attention; his plans to extend urgent financial support to these airlines following the example of New Zealand, Portugal and the UK in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7280/21]

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Cathal Crowe

Question:

182. 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. [7331/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 151, 175 and 182 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, deferral of 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.

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