Tuesday, 4 October 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
366. Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for Transport if a full impact study will be undertaken on the effects of open skies; the measures that will be required both in the short term and long term to counterbalance the number of transatlantic passengers Shannon Airport will lose with the impact of full open skies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26297/05]
381. Ms O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport if he will arrange for an impact study to be carried out in advance of any decision to alter the bilateral agreement between Ireland and the US on transatlantic air routes in the context of open skies negotiations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26790/05]
As I have said before, I do not believe that an impact study of the kind proposed by the Deputies is required. The restructuring of the State airports, including Shannon, is intended to enhance their regional focus and I am encouraged by the close co-operation between the new Shannon Airport Authority and the other regional development bodies in the area.
Work underway in my Department on a ten-year transport investment framework will address the future infrastructural requirements of the mid-west region. As the Deputies will also be aware, the restructuring of the State airports, including Shannon, will be progressed in the light of the assessment in due course, by myself and the Minister for Finance, of the business plans which are currently under preparation by the three airport authorities.
As I have stated in previous replies, the development of an EU-US open-skies regime provides many opportunities for Shannon Airport to contribute to the development of the mid-west. The liberalisation of the aviation market between the EU and US will mean more, not fewer, opportunities for Shannon to develop new routes into North America.
Finally, it has been the consistent policy of this Government that any change in transatlantic arrangements will be accompanied by an appropriate transitional arrangement to enable a smooth phasing in of open skies with the US in the future.
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