Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Airlines Applications.

Wednesday, 1 November 1978

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 308 No. 9

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13.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport if he will favourably consider applications from airlines outside IATA to operate services out of this country in order to generate more competition and thereby reduce fares.

[1444]Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  Membership of IATA is not a prior condition for the grant of an authorisation for the operation of scheduled air services to and from this country. A number of non-IATA carriers already operate such services on a number of routes.

In considering applications for authorisations I must have regard to the need of the travelling public, the viability of the services provided and the welfare of the national airline. I am satisfied that existing arrangements maintain a fair balance between these interests and that the wide range of fares available reasonably meets the needs of the public.

Mr. Belton: Information on Luke Belton  Zoom on Luke Belton  Is the Minister aware of a recent press statement by a specialist in transport economics to the effect that if airlines outside IATA were allowed to operate between Dublin and London this could have the effect of reducing the fare to London from £68 to £25? Is this not worthy of consideration?

Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  I have to concern myself about a number of aspects. Aer Lingus want to keep their fares as low as possible. That is accepted. Equally they have to make some profit. Therefore we must try to maintain a balance. There are airlines operating out of Dublin who are not members of IATA. I am informed that even the increase in fares will not quite meet the extra costs.

Mr. Belton: Information on Luke Belton  Zoom on Luke Belton  Does the Minister agree with the same article in the press which stated that he had no applications from airlines outside IATA? If he received them, would he consider them favourably?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  That is repetition.

Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  I do not know whether I would. I will have a look at the situation, but I must concern myself about Aer Lingus.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  Is the Minister aware that probably the most expensive air crossing in the world is that between Dublin and London? If it is among the most expensive crossings in the world the case can be argued that a reduction [1445] in the price of that air crossing would lead to higher passenger use and in that way improve the economic operation of Aer Lingus considerably. In view of the very high price of this crossing would the Minister agree that the price structure should be reviewed?

Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  Has the Deputy considered or had any examination made into the fare structure between Dublin and London, or is he repeating something which he saw in the papers?

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  No, this is arising out of the reply.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  I think the Deputy is anticipating the next question.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  Independent research has shown that this is one of the most expensive air crossing in the world. It is also clearly established that cheaper fares could be arranged for this route, and it would seem that the Minister should take up with Aer Lingus the possibility of a reduction here.

Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  The Deputy obviously has not studied this thing.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  I have.

Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  Let me give him some figures. Taking normal fares only, the Dublin-London route the fare per mile is 12.41p; the Cork-London route, 11.75p; the Dublin-Amsterdam route, 14.03p; the Dublin-Brussels route, 13.45p; London-Brussels, 19.67p; London-Paris, 18.66p. I do not know how the Deputy finds that this is the most expensive route.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  We do not want to have the Chair rule us out of order——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  ——but I am surprised at the Minister's ignorance on this subject. He is the Minister in charge of this Department. I ask him to do a bit of homework on this subject and to go back and look at relevant papers which have been produced which suggest that [1446] that is the most expensive route and that it should be reviewed. I suggest that the Minister take that up.

Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  The Deputy should do a bit more homework before he comes in to make positive statements which are not correct.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  Order, please.


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