Written answers

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Aviation Industry

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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25. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if clarity will be provided on a matter (details supplied) in relation to the aviation industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23327/21]

Photo of Hildegarde NaughtonHildegarde Naughton (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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The Irish aviation sector is critical to economic development by providing a key enabler of international trade and business, including foreign direct investment and tourism. For this reason, aviation policy has, for decades, placed a priority on international connectivity. The sector is currently experiencing its most challenging crisis in its history. Many analysts are predicting that it will take several years for the sector to return to 2019 levels of activity. Traffic in 2020 was down around 80% on 2019, and revenue has fallen away dramatically as COVID-19 related restrictions on international travel continue to heavily constrain passenger traffic.

A sub-group of the National Civil Aviation Development Forum, specifically tasked with developing an Aviation Restart Plan, submitted a report dated 14 April with proposals that they believe will best provide for the restart and recovery of the aviation sector in Ireland. This report and its proposals are under review by the Department of Transport, in consultation with all relevant Government Departments. Additional clarity has been sought by the Department of Transport on operational matters.

Under the auspices of the Labour Employer Economic Forum, an aviation sub-group chaired by Minister of State Naughton, has also been charged with looking at the needs of the aviation sector in Ireland in the context of the impact of COVID-19. This sub-group is attended by delegations from labour and employer representative bodies, and is chaired by myself.

We are not yet positioned to restart aviation but are preparing the ground for when we can. Until then, Government will continue to provide support to the aviation industry through a range of measures - most notably the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, the objective of which is to maintain the link between the employer and employee, insofar as is possible. Over €200 million has already been made available in COVID-19 business supports for Irish airlines and airports.

We look forward to progressing our engagement with the aviation sector in Ireland and to working together to get international travel back on a strong footing when circumstances allow.


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