Ireland’s Government has allocated $145.55m (€126m) in an aviation funding package to support the sector as it recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The financial package for the remainder of this year and 2022 is part of the overall allocation of $3.93bn (€3.4bn) next year for the Department of Transport.

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With an aim to attain cleaner, greener transport by 2030, investment in 2022 will back several sustainable mobility projects in the country.

Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton TD said: “The total aviation funding package of €126m being announced today demonstrates the government’s commitment to supporting our aviation sector as it emerges as one of the hardest hit sectors by the pandemic.

“Throughout 2022, we remain determined that aviation can build back stronger from the impacts of Covid-19.”

The spending for the aviation sector includes around $41.58m (€36m) for next year. This allocation is part of the Regional Airports Programme (RAP) and compensation for Covid-19 associated damages.

The current and capital funding will be used to support the regional airports of Shannon, Cork, Ireland West, Donegal, and Kerry.

Through various capital and operational grant schemes, RAP offers targeted funding for projects focused on enhancing safety, security, and sustainability at the regional airports.

It will also deliver the necessary funds to support Public Service Obligation air services between Donegal and Dublin.

As announced, Shannon and Cork airports are being included under RAP and will obtain support for security-related current expenses.

The airports will also receive aid for capital expenditure focused on projects to achieve sustainability goals.

Furthermore, the additional funding of $103.96m (€90m) sanctioned in 2021 is for State airports and is dependent on State Aid approval.

This funding intends to ‘stimulate the restoration of air routes and competitiveness’.

Commenting on the aviation package, airport company daa CEO Dalton Philips said: “Our business at Dublin and Cork Airports has been significantly hit by the fall in the passenger numbers over the past two years, as has the entire aviation ecosystem including our airline partners.

“Together we have a long journey to travel as we seek to reconnect Ireland to the rest of the world and fulfil our role as an economic enabler for the Irish economy in terms of trade, tourism and social connectivity. We obviously welcome the measures announced in today’s budget and look forward to rebuilding our long and short-haul networks out of Dublin and Cork Airports on the strength of these supports.”

In February this year, Dublin Airport reported a drop of around 78% in passenger traffic in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.