Northern Ireland news

£10m support package for Belfast airports, Finance Minister Conor Murphy confirms

Passenger levels at Belfast International Airport were down by 91 per cent in November 2020. Picture by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Rebecca Black, PA

A £10 million support package is being delivered to Northern Ireland’s two largest airports.

Belfast International Airport and Belfast City Airport have been hit hard, with the cancellation of many routes amid coronavirus restrictions.

Stormont Finance Minister Conor Murphy said his department is in the process of implementing a £10 million package of support for the Belfast airports, while Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon is providing £1.2 million for the City of Derry Airport.

“Keeping the airports open is the first step to supporting the businesses that work with them,” he told MLAs.

He said his department is also holding £150m aside for potential additional business rate relief in the next financial year.

“Regional airports will be considered as part of that,” he said.

Mr Murphy said he has received bids for additional support for the taxi industry and understands support may be sought for travel agents.

“It really is for all the departments who have responsibility for those sectors to bring bids forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Murphy also told MLAs that he hopes an independent fiscal council will be approved by the Executive shortly.

It is set to look as what potential economic, policy and revenue raising levers could be used by the Executive.

He said the council will be operational as soon as the Executive approves it, which he said he “hopes will be in a matter of days”.

The council is among commitments that were made in the New Decade New Approach deal in January 2019.

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Northern Ireland news