Sun, 28 Feb 2021

Ireland will provide a $180 million recovery loan to the nation's flag carrier, Aer Lingus, to cover losses caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The funds will be used to strengthen the airline's liquidity position and are to be paid back within three years.

Funds for the loan are to come from the Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund, set up by Ireland's finance ministry last year. The loan program is a component of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), created to aid companies that have faced losses caused by the Covid pandemic.

"We will provide more to enable us to retain essential connectivity to, for example, Heathrow, to the U.S. and those key hubs in Europe, and also for cargo," said Leo Varadkar, the deputy head of the government of Ireland.

"But the sad truth now is that it could be a very long time before we see aviation recover," added Varadkar. "So saving all jobs and saving all routes may not be possible, but we do want to protect the company and ensure that it is there for essential connectivity in to the future."

Varadkar also said discussions are being held with the Ministers for Finance and Transport "on further support for the company, so that it is there when we need it again."

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