Airport support will be needed after pandemic

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A MAJOR support package will be needed for Shannon airport once the Covid-19 pandemic abates.

That’s according to Meelick-based Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe.

The party has already written to the European Commissioner for Mobility seeking a discussion on the European response to this crisis and to examine means to support Irish airports and airlines.

Honorary Consul of France Dr Loïc Guyon pictured with Mayor of Clare Councillor Cathal Crowe at Shannon Airport.

Deputy Crowe explained, “Shannon is an important piece of strategic State infrastructure, but successive governments have not maximised its potential and the airport has been experiencing a difficult few years with falling passenger figures and a decline in market share.

“It had been hoped that the situation would improve in 2020, but with the Coronavirus public health emergency and travel restrictions, it seems impossible that any progress will be made this year.

“Shannon has been hugely impacted by Covid-19, and the effects will be felt long after the worst of this virus is over. We rely heavily on our airports for international connectivity and economic opportunities.  Pre-clearance was a game-changer for Shannon, and once travel begins again, we should be targeting the European and transatlantic markets, encouraging more airlines to use Shannon as a hub and avail of pre-clearance into the US.

Deputy Crowe said that Ireland needs  targeted investment into regional airports to ensure that they are not forced to close as a result of this pandemic.

“Shannon is particularly important for the future of the Mid-West and Western region and must be prioritised,” he said.