Over €11m has been allocated from Exchequer funding for the country's regional airports.

Almost €4.8m has been allocated to the airports of Donegal, Ireland West (Knock) and Kerry under the Regional Airports Programme 2021-2025.

Another more than €6.3m has been allocated to Shannon Airport under the Covid-19 Regional State Airports Programme 2021.

Announcing the new funds, Minister of State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton said that the country's regional airports have experienced an incredibly difficult year.

"This funding represents a strong commitment by Government to help Ireland's regional airports remain financially sustainable as they plan to move beyond the largest exogenous shock that the sector has ever faced," Ms Naughton said.

This year's funding has also taken climate objectives into account for the first time, representing an important step in the process towards the 'greening' of Irish airports.

"I am confident that today's allocations, coupled with the impending funding to address the impacts of Covid, will help airports regain their foothold in the aviation market when recovery begins," the Minister said.

The new funding will contribute towards capital investment in the areas of safety, security and sustainability.

Donegal Airport is due to receive €876,525 from the new funding, while Ireland West (Knock) will get €2.186m and Kerry Airport will get over €1.718m

Cork Airport is also eligible for support under the Covid-19 Regional State Airports Programme 2021.

Minister Naughton said that an application for funding in respect of a significant runway overlay project at Cork is currently being assessed by the Department.

"Given the costs involved, this project is also subject to appraisal under the Public Spending Code. Pending a satisfactory evaluation, I hope to be in a position to formally approve funding for this project in the coming weeks," she added.

Further invitations for funding have recently issued to eligible airports under a separate Covid-19 Irish Airports Scheme, which was recently approved by the European Commission.

The scheme, which has an overall budget of €26m, includes compensation of €20m for the country's state airports (Dublin, Cork and Shannon) in light of Covid impacts in 2020.

This funding will provide airports with flexibility to roll out route incentives/charge rebates, in consultation with airlines, with a view to supporting recovery and growth of connectivity when circumstances allow.

As part of this EU approved scheme, up to €6m is also being made available to private regional airports that provide connectivity (Ireland West, Kerry and Donegal) under the EU's temporary framework for state aid measures to support the economy in the current Covid-19 outbreak.

Mary Considine, CEO of Shannon Group, said that after an extremely difficult year for aviation and Shannon Airport, these funds will assist the airport to deliver a range of critical safety and security capital projects, including, security equipment upgrades, and airfield rehabilitation works.

Meanwhile, John Mulhern, CEO of Kerry Airport said while the last year has been an unprecedented chapter of great struggle for the airport, they are confident of the future as they continue to receive Government support.

"Today's announcement of record capital funding is yet another example of how this government ensures we will have the assets and capability to maintain and continue to build a safe, secure and more environmentally-conscious platform towards recovery.

"Undoubtedly we will need to wrestle through for a time, however record vaccination rates and funding such as this pave the way to unfettered travel that we all long for again," said Mr Mulhern.