Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Charter Flights.

Thursday, 21 June 1973

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 266 No. 7

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146.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  asked the Minister for Transport and Power if the conditions affecting charter flights to and from Ireland are under review in his Department; and, if so, the present position in regard to such flights.

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  I assume that the Deputy's question relates to Advance Booking Charter (ABC) Flights. The Deputy will be aware from my news statement of 13th June that I have issued rules for the operation of transatlantic advance booking charter flights to and from this country. The rules set out the various conditions relating to this new category of charter flights including the requirement that carriers must obtain my authorisation for flights and that persons wishing to engage in the organisation of ABC charter flights must obtain my prior approval.

I have arranged to have copies of the news release and of the rules placed in the Dáil Library.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  Would the Minister agree that the question relating to charter flights in the name of Deputy O'Kennedy and the other questions relating to Shannon landing rights in the names of Deputy O'Kennedy, Deputy Barett, Deputy Briscoe and myself all appeared on the Order Paper of the House several days before the Minister made the statement at the Press conference.

[1052]Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  No, I would not.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  The questions were put down several days before the two Press conferences.

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  Arrangements for the Press conference were made on the Thursday. I understand that some of the questions were put down on Friday morning, and some on Monday morning and Monday afternoon.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  The Press conference was held on Monday and the questions were down the previous week.

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  They were down on Friday.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  We cannot have a discussion on when questions were put down.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  I should like to ask the Minister if the airline which will be able to avail of the right to bring charter flights into Ireland under this arrangement have been named and, if so, what they are?

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  Question No. 146 relates to charters. I presume that what the Deputy wants is the name of the airline which will be allowed to have flights into Dublin. That has not yet been named to my knowledge.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  No, I am on the question of charter flights. I presume that not every airline in the world that wants to run a charter into Ireland will be allowed to do so.

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  I think so. I think anybody who organises a charter on the far side-providing they stop in Shannon either on the way in or out, and provided the charter is accepted under the rules in this country, and is declared worthy by the Civil Aeronautics Board in America-will be allowed in.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  Will every charter coming in under this arrangement have to land in Shannon both ways?

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  Not both ways. Either coming or going as has been the practice up to now.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  Either coming or going?

[1053]Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  There is some confusion here. The landing rights issue has nothing to do with charters. They are two separate things.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  I accept that.

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  Up to this charters have been coming in from most of the airlines in America which, I think, is the prime concern here. They have been compelled to land at Shannon either coming to Dublin or going from Dublin, not necessarily both ways. There is no change in that situation.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  Would the Minister not agree that, in view of the major change in the other situation as regards American flights into Dublin he, as Minister, should now insist that charter flights should land both ways in Shannon, as the scheduled American airline will have to do?

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  That would mean negotiating a separate agreement with the American Government relating to charters. This is something which will be done some time in the next 12 months.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  Could that not have been specified in the announcement the Minister made on this occasion?

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  No. That is what I am trying to point out to the Deputy. There' are two separate things. There was no question of charters in the agreement signed last week between the American Government and the Irish Government. It related to scheduled airlines.

[1054]Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  Will the Minister give an assessment of the effect of this new charter arrangement on Aer Lingus?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  That is a separate question.

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  It will be beneticial.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  I hope they think so.

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  I think they do.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass  Zoom on Noel T. Lemass  Will the Minister agree that it is absolutely essential for the Irish airline to get into the charter business in a big way if they are to compete and survive in this hungry market?

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  I would not agree with the Deputy. It is essential that Aer Lingus should have a charter arm. I do not think it would be desirable that they should get out of the ordinary scheduled routes on which the large proportion of their staff is employed. The employment of many highly skilled technical people on the ground is involved in servicing these flights. It is a big question. There may be a change in airlines in years to come but, at the moment, I would approve of Aer Lingus policy with regard to trying to keep both arms going.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The remaining questions will appear on next Tuesday's Order Paper unless Deputies desire to get written answers which they may get from the General Office.

The Dáil adjourned at 5 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 26th June, 1973.


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