Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced that the Executive has secured £5.7million support for Belfast City Airport (BCA), City of Derry Airport (CODA) and to those associated airlines still operating passenger services.
The financial support package, to be joint funded by the Executive and the Department for Transport, will assist these airports and airlines which continue to keep our passenger air bridge with GB open during the COVID-19 emergency.
This support will ensure NI airports continue their key role as gateways to connect people and places for a period of three months.
Announcing today’s package Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “As the COVID-19 lockdown continues, many people are continuing to deliver critical services across the North that are necessary to keep people safe and connected. This is particularly true of our airports who are dealing with a significant drop in passenger numbers and are valiantly working to keep our island connected during this difficult time. Our airports connect people and places and even in these times of restricted movement we need to facilitate essential travel including people who have to travel for urgent medical care and indeed staff in our valued NHS.
“To this end I have been working with Executive colleagues and the UK Government to ensure our airports are supported so they can stay open and continue to serve our community. Today, the Executive is announcing the provision of a financial support package of £5.7 million. This assistance will provide financial aid to both City of Derry Airport and Belfast City Airport to help with their operating costs when so much of their business has been affected. Finance is also being made available to keep the remaining flights operating out of those airports.
“While my powers are limited on airports, working with colleagues and the Department for Transport, I have been able to secure this unique payment to support the airports at this difficult time. It is this type of collaborative working that will get us through this crisis and our recovery from it.”
Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: “Maintaining air connectivity with the GB mainland is critical, especially during this COVID-19 crisis period. Hence I am delighted that the lifeline passenger flights from the City of Derry Airport and Belfast City Airport to London are being supported over the forthcoming months. I have engaged with the UK Chancellor and both the Transport and Northern Ireland Secretaries of State to deliver this. I also wish to acknowledge the support of my Executive colleagues, especially the Ministers for Infrastructure and Finance, who have been vital in this process. I would also like to highlight the tremendous work being done by Belfast International Airport, which is open 24/7 to maintain our vital freight links with the world.”
Finance Minister, Conor Murphy said: “Our airports and airlines are a critical part of our economic infrastructure and it is vital that they are maintained through this crisis. Passenger numbers have collapsed and, along with my Executive Colleagues, I have been engaging regularly with our local airports and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Transport Secretary to ensure these services continue over the next few months. I am pleased that the package we are announcing today will keep our airports open and allow essential flights to continue to operate.”