Thursday, 21 June 1973
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. 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: 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.
Mr. 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.
Mr. P. 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: 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: 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. P. 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. P. 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: 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: 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.
Mr. P. 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.
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