Written Answers - Air Services.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 640 No. 4

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  288.  Deputy Martin Ferris  Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris   asked the Minister for Transport  Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey   if he will confirm that the airport coordinator, as defined by Council Regulation 95/93 and amended by EC 793/2004, has a veto on transferring routes to second airports. [26587/07]

  289.  Deputy Martin Ferris  Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris   asked the Minister for Transport  Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey   if the airport coordinator can reject a route change on the basis that the proposed change would be detrimental to the vital interests of the region from which the route would be transferred. [26588/07]

  290.  Deputy Martin Ferris  Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris   asked the Minister for Transport  Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey   if the airport coordinator or Aer Lingus is required to carry out an impact study on the Shannon region to assess the affects of the proposed transfer. [26589/07]

  291.  Deputy Martin Ferris  Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris   asked the Minister for Transport  Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey   if grandfather rights adhere to the airline or the route in view of the fact that Regulation 790/2004 states that the system provides for the reallocation of slots with established precedence to incumbent carriers. [26590/07]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Noel Dempsey): Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  I propose to take Questions Nos. 288 to 291, inclusive, together.

The EU regulation to which the Deputy refers is of no relevance to the decision of Aer Lingus to discontinue its Shannon to Heathrow service. The regulation in question is Council Regulation (EEC) No. 95/93, as amended, on common rules for the allocation of slots at community airports.

This regulation lays down common EU rules for the allocation of slots to air carriers at airports in the community. Essentially the regulation took responsibility for the slot allocation process out of the hands of airport authorities at congested airports and made it the responsibility of slot co-ordinators who are designated by the member states. The Commission for Aviation Regulation has been designated as the competent authority for the regulation in Ireland.

Under the regulation, airports in the community are either co-ordinated or schedules facilitated. Generally, congested airports will be designated as co-ordinated airports by the relevant authority in the member state concerned which means that a carrier cannot operate a landing or a take-off at such an airport without being allocated a slot. A more flexible regime can be operated at schedules facilitated airports where capacity is not so constrained.

The application of Regulation 95/93 in Ireland is concerned only with the allocation of slots at Irish airports and Dublin airport is the only airport in the State that has been designated as a co-ordinated airport by the Commission for Aviation Regulation. The slot allocation process at London Heathrow is entirely a matter for the UK authorities.


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