Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
I would like to thank the Deputy for his question in relation to Covid-19 and Shannon Airport. Covid-19 has had a profound and unparalleled impact on the aviation industry. In Europe, aviation movements have plummeted by about 90% while passenger traffic is 99% below comparable periods last year.
In response to Covid-19, the Government has put in place a broad range of supports to help mitigate the effects of the crisis on our citizens and businesses. One such support is the COVID-19 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. This Scheme allows employers to continue to pay their employees during the COVID-19 emergency. It aims, as we know, to keep employees registered with their employers, so that they will be able to get back to work quickly after the pandemic. Shannon Group is availing of this Scheme.
Details of the suite of Covid-19 Government Funding and Supports available have been notified to Shannon Group, including, the Working Capital Loan Scheme - a €200m Working Capital scheme for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19; the Enterprise Support Scheme, under which a €200m package is available from Enterprise Ireland’s COVID-19 Business Response Plan; Fáilte Ireland’s COVID-19 Business Support Hub which offers a suite of targeted supports for tourism businesses and a range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Ireland, grant supports are available to firms to help with strategies to innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness.
On 13 May 2020, the European Commission published a package of guidelines and recommendations to help Member States gradually lift travel restrictions while respecting necessary health precautions. Officials in my Department are currently assessing these Guidelines together with further complementary draft guidance developed by the European Aviation Safety Agency. There is an ongoing process of consultation with stakeholders, including Shannon Airport, in the context of providing a means to allow industry to prepare the return to operations as soon as possible.
I fully appreciate and acknowledge the important role of Shannon Airport to the economy of the Midwest region and indeed nationally. My Department continues to work closely with Shannon Group to ensure that the Company, including Shannon Airport, will be well positioned operationally to contribute to the post pandemic recovery.