Ireland West Airport is to receive €1,353,859 in grant aid towards the operating costs of the airport under the Government's Regional Airports Programme.
This grant is targeted at vital safety and security operations at the airport such as air traffic control, fire services and security, ensuring airports can continue to remain compliant with regulatory requirements in these areas.
Welcoming the announcement, Arthur French, chairman of the airport, said: "We wish to acknowledge Minister Eamon Ryan TD, and Minister Hildegarde Naughton TD, for the continued support received from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in awarding this funding to the airport.
"We also wish to thank our local public representatives and local authority stakeholders for their ongoing support for the airport through this unprecedented period.
"This funding will serve to go part of the way to subventing the close to €4m losses the airport is forecasting this year as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We also await further positive developments following Government’s recent announcement of additional operational funding for regional airports as part of the Aviation recovery Programme."
This has proven to be the most challenging year in the airport's history as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen a complete collapse in passenger traffic from a record high of 807,000 passengers in 2019 to an estimated 145,000 passengers in 2020 – an 82 per cent decline and a passenger level last experienced in 1995.
Fine Gael spokesperson on Tourism and Sport, Alan Dillon, welcomed the announcement, saying: "The Government fully recognise the devastating impact that the current crisis has had on our regional airports. This funding will go some way towards helping our regional airports remain financially sustainable as they plan for a time beyond the grip of Covid-19.
"In addition to today’s funding, my colleague, Minister of State for Transport, Hildegarde Naughton TD, also announced further supports for regional airports on November 10 when Government agreed to a revised supports package of €80m for Irish aviation.
"As part of that announcement, in order to safeguard the viability of regional airports, Donegal, Kerry and Knock will be eligible to receive up to €6m in supplementary supports next year to make good the impacts of Covid in 2020.
"This announcement is in addition to almost €2.5 million in capital grants already allocated to these airports in July this year. That funding supported an airfield maintenance and upgrade project at Knock and the installation of Explosive Detection Systems (EDS ) units at Kerry and Donegal."
Commenting on the development of a new Regional Airports Programme, Minister of State Naughton said: "In keeping with this Government’s priorities for regional development I expect to publish a new Regional Airports Programme for 2021 – 2025 in the coming weeks. This will give funding certainty to the regional airports over a five-year timeframe, helping them to remain viable as they transition through the various phases of recovery from Covid."