NEW Clare TD Cathal Crowe has said that a major investment package will be required to support Shannon Airport, after the Covid-19 pandemic abates.
Before the pandemic Dublin Airport was very much dominant over all the other Irish airports, with economic consequences for other parts of the country.
Deputy Crowe said that Fianna Fáil has already written to the European Commissioner for Mobility seeking a discussion on the European response to the crisis, and to examine means to support Irish airports and airlines.
He added, ““It had been hoped that the situation (at Shannon) 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. As an island nation, 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 States.
“Fianna Fáil has always been a strong supporter of the Irish aviation industry, and will continue to be so through this crisis. We need 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.”
New thinking will be required when the crisis passes, he feels. “The response to this crisis requires a national and pan-European strategy and I will be working with my colleagues to ensure that Shannon is recognised and will be part of whatever measures are agreed on.”