Thursday, 7 November 1991
Dáil Éireann Debate
155. Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications if his attention has been drawn to the anxiety caused by the omission from the Revised Programme for Government of any reference to the need for a hub development at Shannon Airport using American airlines prior to 1993; and whether the deregulation of 1993 will mean that bilateral agreements with the USA will then become obsolete.
Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications (Mr. S. Brennan): While there is no specific reference to the development of Shannon Airport as an international hub in the recent review of the current Programme for Government, the House is aware from questions I have answered on this subject over the course of the last year or more, that I have been giving Aer Rianta, Shannon Development and Aer Lingus every encouragement in their efforts to promote Shannon Airport as an international hub airport. Earlier this year, I authorised the commencement of air services by Aeroflot between Shannon and Miami, Washington and Gander and I understand that services between Shannon and Miami and Washington have been operating successfully since April last. I understand also that Aer Rianta and Aer Lingus have recently concluded an arrangement with a Soviet regional airline whereby that airline will feed traffic between Minsk and the US via Shannon using Aer Lingus transatlantic services. The service is expected to commence on 2 December 1991.
As to the status of bilateral air transport agreements in 1993, I should explain that the current liberalisation of air transport within the Community forms part of the process of completing the internal market in air transport by 1993. This does not directly affect relations between  member states and third countries. Bilateral agreements between member states and third countries will, therefore, remain in place until such time as the Community concludes air transport agreements with such countries, whether on a bilateral or multilateral basis.
Some progress has been made on developing a Community external policy towards third countries. Negotiations on an air transport agreement between the Community and Norway and Sweden are close to completion. The Commission has not, yet, however, formulated proposals for agreements with other third countries.
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