Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Waterford-London Air Service.

Thursday, 15 December 1988

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 385 No. 8

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10.

Mr. Deasy: Information on Austin Deasy  Zoom on Austin Deasy  asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport if he has received an application from Aer Lingus to operate services from Waterford airport to London; and, in view of their performance in recent times on the Dublin-Manchester route, if he intends to grant them permission to operate such services.

Mr. Wilson: Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  I have received no application from Aer Lingus to operate services between Waterford and London.

Mr. Deasy: Information on Austin Deasy  Zoom on Austin Deasy  There was a rumour that an application was going into the Department. Would the Minister entertain it if he received such an application, in view of what happened on the Dublin-Manchester route?

Mr. Wilson: Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  I answered the question for the Deputy some time ago about the Dublin-Manchester service. That was a specific and special matter. I indicated that to the Deputy at the time. I forget whether it was in an oral or a written answer.

Mr. Deasy: Information on Austin Deasy  Zoom on Austin Deasy  It was written.

Mr. Wilson: Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  Aer Lingus did have fifth freedom traffic rights from Manchester into the seventies but the British Government deprived them of them. They are now operating fifth freedom rights from [1917] Manchester into five different European cities as a result. It is a slightly different matter. My answer still stands with regard to the Waterford route.

Mr. Deasy: Information on Austin Deasy  Zoom on Austin Deasy  Does the Minister realise that in the Dublin-Manchester instance the whole exercise was designed purely to put Ryanair out of business on that route? Does he accept that?

Mr. Wilson: Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  I do not think so. I think that Aer Lingus wanted to get the fifth freedom services going, which they did to five different European cities including Copenhagen and Hamburg.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  As it is the Minister's stated intention to develop regional airports, does he not agree that it is not in the interests of such airports that our national airline should be operating fares to Dublin out of those ariports in the region of £10 and £15 as an add-on fare out if this country? I was under the impression that an application, as mentioned by Deputy Deasy, had been sent to his Department for Aer Lingus to operate an internal flight between Waterford and Dublin and, if so, will the Minister look closely into the matter to ensure that passengers will not be diverted from the local regional airports on the basis that another airline are using their position on a ridiculously cheap fare to remove passengers from that airport and put that airport out of business? This is a very important issue. As his Department are also funding the development of these regional airports, surely it would be a contradiction if that were allowed to happen. Will he look into the matter if an application is received?

Mr. Wilson: Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  I accept the major premise in the Deputy's statement that as we are investing in the regional airports we want them to succeed and prosper.


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