The Government of Ireland is set to provide additional financial support to Cork and Shannon airports as the aviation sector anticipates a tough winter season amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ireland’s Department of Transport allocated an additional €22m for the two airports in capital funding next year. This is in addition to the already €10m announced as part of Budget 2021.

The investments will be made as part of the revised €80m funding package announced by the government for the local aviation sector.

Under the revised funding package, smaller regional airports of Knock, Kerry and Donegal will receive an additional €6m, separate from the €21m in funding available under the Regional Airports Programme for next year.

In addition, the government announced an Airport Charges Rebate Scheme for the period from January to March 2021.

Subject to state aid approval from the EU Commission, the decision will help in the retention of core connectivity throughout the season.

Ireland Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said: “The government is fully alert to the devastating impact of the global pandemic on international travel and values the critical role that aviation plays in the Irish economy.

“It is expected that it may be some time before it is possible to permit a large-scale return to air travel, but we remain committed to ensuring that the aviation sector can maintain the necessary core capability to retain strategic connectivity and to quickly rebound when circumstances allow.”

Cork Airport and Shannon Airport have both welcomed the government’s decision.

Earlier this week, Ireland implemented the new ‘traffic lights’ system for travelling. The system means that countries across the EU, EEA and the UK are categorised as green, orange, red or grey, based on the Covid-19 risk levels.