Written answers

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Aviation Industry

Photo of Colm BurkeColm Burke (Cork North Central, Fine Gael)
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80. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when transatlantic flights will resume from Shannon Airport; the supports which have been provided to the Shannon Group to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11969/22]

Photo of Hildegarde NaughtonHildegarde Naughton (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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Shannon Airport is forecasting close to one million passengers in 2022 with 3 airlines and 25 routes expected for Summer 2022, compared to 6 airlines and 30 routes pre-COVID-19. Aer Lingus transatlantic services to Boston are expected to return on 10 March and New York on 11 March 2022. The United Airlines daily Newark seasonal service will recommence on 27 March.

During the COVID-19 crisis Shannon Group benefited from a suite of measures to support businesses across the economy, including but not limited to, the wage subsidy scheme, grants, a commercial rates waiver, deferred tax liabilities and the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme.  These supports to Shannon Group totalled almost €17 million in 2020 and 2021.  In an effort to protect jobs in the Mid-West, emergency operational funding of €105,000 was also provided to Shannon Group by my Department in 2020 to ensure two Castles, Bunratty and King John’s, operated by Shannon Heritage could remain open at that time.  

In addition to these supports, over €22.7 million in aviation sector-specific supports have been allocated to Shannon Airport in 2020 and 2021.  Over €6 million of this funding was in the form of capital grants under the Covid-19 Regional State Airports Programme in 2021.  Funding under this Programme targeted safety & security related operations as well as projects which focused on reducing emissions and building climate resilience at airports. Over €5.5 million in operational support was also provided under this Programme in 2021, funding 100% of eligible operational costs at Shannon Airport last year.  

Additional emergency capital funding of €5.65m has also been provided to Shannon Airport in 2020 and 2021 for a Hold Baggage Screening (HBS) project and an Embankments project.  A further €5.5m was provided to Shannon Airport under the Department's Covid Supplementary Support Scheme to Irish airports. This funding has provided Shannon Airport with flexibility to roll out route incentives/charge rebates, in consultation with airlines, with a view to supporting recovery and growth of connectivity.

A summary of funding provided to Shannon Group over 2020 and 2021 is outlined as follows:

Shannon Group 2020 2021 TOTAL


Current €m Capital €m €m
Horizontal Supports (approx.) €8.40 €8.24 €16.64
Covid Support to Shannon Heritage €0.11 €0.11
Emergency Capital Support €0.30 €5.35 €5.65
Covid-19 Regional State Airports Programme 2021 €5.53 €6.07 €11.60
Covid Supplementary Support Scheme €5.49 €5.49
TOTAL €8.51 €0.30 €19.26 €11.42 €39.49

This year, funding of €36 million will be provided under the Regional Airports Programme 2021-2025, supporting regional airports of Shannon, Cork, Ireland West, Donegal and Kerry.  This budget allocation represents a significant increase in funding available under the Programme in 2022, which takes account of the broadening of the Programme to include both Cork and Shannon Airports.  In addition to this, funding of €1.1m will be provided to Shannon Airport in 2022 for the completion of the airports HBS and Embankments projects.

The National Aviation Policy recognises the important role of Shannon Airport in the economic and social fabric of Mid-West Region. Funding of almost €40 million provided to Shannon Group since 2020 is a clear indication of the importance Government attaches to Shannon Group being well positioned for recovery and growth into the future.  


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