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Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Questions (218)

Colm Burke

Question:

218. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Transport the measures he will put in place to ensure that Cork Airport is supported during its current closure and following its reopening in November 2022; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47849/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government put in place a broad range of unprecedented supports very early in the pandemic to help mitigate impacts on business, including a wage subsidy scheme, grants, low-cost loans, a commercial rates waiver and deferred tax liabilities. It is estimated that Irish airlines and airports, including Cork Airport, have availed of over €300 million through these supports to date.

In addition, taking account of the recommendations of the Taskforce for Aviation Recovery, and in recognition of the significant challenges being faced by airports, the Government announced an €80 million funding package specifically for Irish aviation in November 2020. This included an unprecedented level of funding to airports in 2021.

As part of that funding, €32.1 million has been allocated to Cork and Shannon Airports in 2021. This comprises of €16.5m in capital and €15.6m in current funding. Capital allocations are supporting essential safety and security related projects. This includes €10m funding for a Runway Overlay Project at Cork Airport, a project vital for the future of the airport. In relation to current funding, the process to administer €15.6m between Cork and Shannon Airport has commenced and funds under this scheme will be disbursed to the airports by the end of the year.

A further €1.4m in funding was provided to Cork Airport over the summer under a Damages Scheme. This funding provides Cork airport with flexibility to roll out route incentives/charge rebates, in consultation with airlines, with a view to supporting recovery and growth of connectivity. In this context, the Deputy will be aware that Ryanair has recently announced the reopening of its Cork base from December with 12 routes for the winter months and 20 routes operating from Cork for summer 2022.

The Government is wholly committed to supporting the aviation sector, including supporting Cork Airport during its current closure and future re-opening. Government is also currently considering the possible need and options for further targeted supports for aviation, with a view to aiding in the restoration of lost air connectivity and competitiveness. Finally, the Deputy may be aware that Cork Airport will meet the eligibility criteria for funding under the Regional Airports Programme next year. The level of funding that might be available under this Programme is currently being considered in the context of the Estimates process in relation to Budget 2022. Government is also currently considering the possible need and options for further targeted supports for aviation, with a view to aiding in the restoration of lost air connectivity and competitiveness.

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