Queries Raised Over Relief Funds for Belfast International Airport

The airport was not among the businesses to benefit from the £300m Covid-19 relief fund allocations

Belfast International Airport has queried why it was not included among the businesses listed to benefit from the £300m Covid-19 relief funds announced by Finance Minister Conor Murphy last night (November 23).

Last week the airport announced that it is being forced to partially close after major airlines reduced the number of routes they operate.

When asked why the airport had not been included in the funding allocations, Mr Murphy said: “When we made a previous payment in relation to airports, at that stage the International did not require any assistance from us, it’s very clear now they do and we’re working through that with them.

“There was £10 million sitting in reserve for the airports and I hope by next week to be able to identify whichever department is to pay that out, probably Infrastructure, but to work that through with Belfast International, the City and City of Derry as well.”

In response to a written Assembly Question on why further support had not been provided to Belfast International Airport, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said her department was asked to facilitate the “distribution of emergency funding on behalf of the Executive to Belfast City and the City of Derry airports”.

“I am committed to working with both my Executive colleagues in the Department for the Economy and the Department for Finance to identify and put in place any appropriate support for Belfast International Airport,” she said.

“I have accepted an invitation to meet with Belfast International Airport representatives, along with my ministerial colleagues in the Department of Finance and the Department for the Economy, given the different statutory responsibilities we each hold in respect of airports and connectivity.”