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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 9 Jul 1946

Vol. 102 No. 3

Air Navigation and Transport Bill, 1946—Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

I do not think this Bill will give the Dáil any great difficulty. The main purpose is to facilitate the completion of the ratification of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. That convention was signed, as the House is aware, by the Irish delegation to the Chicago Conference, and was subsequently approved by the Dáil on 19th April, 1945. The convention provides that it will come into operation when ratified by 26 States. It has already been ratified by eight States. The Assembly of the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organisation set up under the interim agreement which was made at Chicago to bridge the period between the Chicago Conference and the coming into force of the Chicago Convention recently recommended early and simultaneous ratification by all other signatory States.

Can the Minister say what were the eight States?

I will give them later. The ratification of the Chicago Convention by the Government cannot be undertaken until legislation has been enacted which is necessary to permit of compliance with its provisions. That purpose is met by this Bill. When the Chicago Convention comes into force it will replace the Paris Convention of 1919 to which this country is a party. The aviation regulations at present current in this country are based on the Paris Convention. Power to implement the Paris Convention by regulations was vested in the Government under the Air Navigation and Transport Act, 1936. This Bill proposes to empower the Minister for Industry and Commerce to bring the Chicago Convention into operation on an appointed date, and also to make the Orders and regulations necessary to implement the Convention. It also proposes to transfer to the Minister the powers to make Orders and regulations vested in the Government under Sections 10, 11, 12 and 63 of the Air Navigation and Transport Act, 1936. The transfer of powers from the Government to the Minister is necessary because the civil aviation practices and standards, which are the subject of regulations, are developing rapidly and are liable to constant changes and modifications.

The Second Part of this Bill arises out of the air transport agreement recently concluded with Great Britain. The provisions of that agreement require certain changes in the law and in the memorandum and articles of association of the air transport companies. The main air transport company, as the Dáil is aware, is Aer Rianta Teoranta. The maximum capital of that company, as provided in the Act of 1936, is £1,000,000. The inter-company agreement, recently concluded between Aer Rianta Teoranta and the British Overseas Airways Corporation, provides for the increase of the nominal capital of Aer Lingus from £100,000 to £1,000,000, 60 per cent. of which will be held by Aer Rianta Teoranta. Aer Rianta Teoranta will operate the proposed transatlantic service and the capital required for this project is estimated at £750,000. Other developments by the company are also contemplated. The Bill accordingly proposes an increase in the nominal capital of Aer Rianta from the existing limit of £1,000,000 to a new limit of £2,000,000.

The Minister mentioned that the capital of Aer Lingus is being increased from £100,000 to £1,000,000.

The nominal capital of £100,000 is being increased to £1,000,000, of which Aer Rianta Teoranta is obliged to supply 60 per cent. The Principal Act set a limit of £500,000 to the amount of subsidy payable to Aer Rianta, and prescribed that the subsidy might be paid for a period of five years from the passing of the Act. The amending Act of 1942 extended the period during which the subsidy might be paid to the 25th May, 1947. It is anticipated that there may be an increased demand for subsidy, arising out of new air services, and particularly the proposed transatlantic air service, for some years. It is, accordingly, proposed to increase the over-all limit of subsidy payable to £750,000, and to extend the period over which it may be paid to five years from the date of the enactment of the Bill.

The Bill also provides for the amendment of the memorandum and articles of association of Aer Rianta and Aer Lingus so as to permit certain changes in their constitution, which have become necessary mainly in consequence of the inter-company agreement between Aer Rianta, Teoranta, and B.O.A.C., and because of other projects which Aer Rianta have in hand. Provision is made for the appointment to the Board of Aer Rianta of not more than seven nor less than three directors, instead of the five directors specified in the Principal Act. The memorandum of association of Aer Lingus contains provision as to the nationality of shareholders, and as to the powers of veto by the Minister for Finance, which are incompatible with the inter-company agreement between Aer Rianta and B.O.A.C. The Companies Act, 1908, does not provide for the amendment or deletion of clauses of that type, and rather than wind up Aer Lingus, and reconstitute it on a new basis, provision is made in Section 28 of the Bill for the deletion of the clauses.

The Bill also provides for the payment of contributions and for the charging of fees on licences and certificates issued under regulations applying the convention. I do not think the House will regard it as necessary for me to deal in any detail with the provisions of the British agreement, as there were references to that agreement during the course of the debate on the Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce, and full publicity has been given to its terms. If discussion should arise on the matter, it is necessary to point out that the main feature of the agreement is the establishment of a joint operating company. The alternative arrangement for air services between this country and Great Britain would have involved the operation of such services by two companies—one Irish and one British— possessing equal rights mutually conceded.

It was considered that a joint company would be more efficient and economical in operation, which is a matter of importance, and that, therefore, our interests were best served by having such joint company. The provisions of the agreement ensure that the joint company will be Aer Lingus Teoranta and that the majority of the directors of that company will be appointed by Aer Rianta, which will hold 60 per cent. of the total capital.

Is the Minister transposing the names of the companies?

No. Aer Rianta will hold 60 per cent. of the capital of Aer Lingus which will be the joint operating company.

Does that mean that members of the British company will become members of Aer Lingus?

Under the inter-company agreement the British company, or companies, will have the right to nominate three of seven, or two of the five, directors of Aer Lingus. The actual number of directors on that board at present is five but it may be increased to seven; if it is increased to seven four will be nominated by Aer Rianta and three by the British company, or companies, which are parties to the agreement. The agreement also gives commercial rights in the United Kingdom to Aer Lingus in respect of certain routes between Shannon and Dublin and points on the continent, including Paris. Services to Paris have already commenced by virtue of the agreement made recently with the French Government. Following the agreement signed with the Swedish Government services to points in Sweden are contemplated in the near future. Services to other points in Europe named in the agreement with Great Britain cannot commence until agreements with the countries concerned have been concluded. The points named in the agreement are Oslo, Brussels, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. The economic importance of the Shannon airport is recognised by the provision in the annexe to the agreement that all B.O.A.C. aircraft on the route London-Shannon-Newfoundland and Canada, or the United States, and points beyond in both directions, will stop at Shannon on the east-bound and west-bound flights. The wording of that provision in the agreement is the same as that in the Irish-American agreement made in 1945. The duration of the agreement is indefinite. It is terminable, however, by either party giving 12 months' notice. The inter-company agreement between Aer Rianta and B.O.A.C. has just been signed. As I have indicated, the heads of the agreement provide for the establishment of a single unit, which will be Aer Lingus, with a capital of £1,000,000 of which 60 per cent. will be held by Aer Rianta and 40 per cent. by B.O.A.C. The text of the inter-Government agreement has been circulated to the House. The principal purpose of this Bill is to get the necessary powers to permit of the ratification of the Chicago convention and to effect changes incidental to that British agreement to which I have referred.

I think the Minister could have been a lot more helpful in his statement if he had taken Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta and told us clearly for what specific purposes they have been formed and the capital upon which they are working, together with some information as to where that capital is found. Nobody could get any kind of clear picture from the Minister's statement as to what type of air companies we have, the type of passengers they are going to carry, and the places to which they will carry them. There has been a good deal of confused publicity in connection with discussions about air agreements and disputes as to the ways in which they are worked. We have had a good deal of confused information about our own air endeavours. I think the Minister should give us a simple statement of our air organisation here, the purpose for which it is set up, the way in which it is being capitalised and the extent to which financial responsibility of a contingency kind may rest on the country. First of all, I would like to ask the Minister what is Aer Rianta? Is it a company formed entirely for the purposes of carrying passengers inside or outside the country? Can he give us any information as to the personnel of the board of directors, how they are appointed and how the governing board is set up? To what extent is the capital of the company furnished by the State here? To what extent are private investors interested in investing in Aer Rianta? In respect of Aer Lingus, in what directions is it anticipated that this company will work throughout the world? To what extent has Aer Lingus been set up for the purpose of carrying Irish passengers? To what extent will it facilitate air traffic in regard to people from other countries on routes which involve this country? Is the capital in Aer Lingus going to derive from Aer Rianta? To what extent, if that is so, is the capital in Aer Rianta Irish capital, with a contingent liability for further expense upon the State here? I think it is desirable that the Minister should clear up that situation to some extent. Until the situation is clarified it is impossible to ask any other intelligent questions which follow as a natural corollary to those I have already asked.

Assuming that Aer Lingus is a purely Irish company, fully controlled in this country and with the prime purpose of carrying on air services to the world outside, am I right in understanding that we intend to carry on air services to Great Britain and the United States, on the one hand, and to Europe on the other? When the air pact was signed with the United States it was arranged that the air lines of Ireland, authorised under the present agreement, were accorded within the territory of the United States rights of transit, common traffic stop, and commercial entry for international traffic at specific airports in connection with such route, or routes, as would be determined at a later date. Is Aer Lingus the company which is going to have identical rights of entry into the United States as the United States lines have here? Are we going to have the same right of entry into Great Britain as we are going to have into the United States? Into what countries in Europe is it intended that we shall have the same rights of entry? Incidental to that, what other countries in Europe are likely to require the same rights of entry here? Until we get a simple exposition of the organisation and the work of the two companies I do not think we can usefully discuss these matters here. Then as to the B.O.A.C., with which Aer Rianta is co-operating to form Aer Lingus, will that company be given the same rights as a separate company here as Aer Lingus will be given in Great Britain; or does the fact that Aer Lingus exists as a joint company between ourselves and the British operate to cut out the personal services of the B.O.A.C. entering this country?

There has been a certain amount of criticism about narrowness in the use of flags which I think ought to be cleared up. As I understand it, Aer Lingus is a purely Irish company operating under the Irish flag and that it is not a gesture of aggression towards, or want of esteem of any country into which our planes go that we simply carry on our services under one flag. There has been a certain amount of confused criticism and confusion of mind on the subject arising out of criticism made, perhaps, in ignorance or made in order simply to create a certain amount of difficulty and irritation. I think that a clear statement from the Minister would clear the air and silence any criticism that might arise from ignorance or even prejudice in the matter. As I said, the Minister's statement has not been very helpful and it would be desirable if in replying he would approach the matter in a simple way, because a lot of people are very ignorant as to what is being done when we ring the changes between Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta.

I am sure that some Deputies who expressed some concern as to whether we were doing something unwise when we signed the agreement with America and ratified it in this House will be gratified to know, so far as I can gather from the Minister, that under this new arrangement British planes will be getting the same facilities here as American planes operating in the same way. I take it that that is so. I think I can take it that, if at any time it is considered desirable and judicious, the same facilities can be extended to planes of other countries. There is nothing in this, any more than the original agreement, which precludes us from doing that. I think that is clear but it might be no harm if the Minister would clarify it a bit further when replying because, perhaps for the reason which Deputy Mulcahy has given, that we have not got much information and certainly the country has not got much information as to the actual set-up and working of the various companies here, there is a good deal of ill-informed criticism outside. There were certain fears expressed in the first instance that we were tying ourselves up exclusively to America, while other people are now afraid that we are tying ourselves to the British by allowing the British to come in on this new company.

I think it is a very important matter from many aspects, not the least of which is the financial aspect. Apart from giving authority here to have the capital of the company increased from £1,000,000 to £2,000,000, there is, of course, from the point of view of the taxpayer, the consideration that we are increasing the subsidy by £250,000. I do not think anybody will grudge that amount, or even a larger amount, if we are to get, as we ought to get, a pretty fair return from it. The matter is confused, however. Am I right in saying that Aer Rianta is a holding company and that Aer Lingus is the operating one? Is that the position? What are the functions of Aer Rianta? What was it set up for and what does it do? How do its functions and operations differ from Aer Lingus? How did they differ in the past and how will they differ in the future?

It seems to me from what the Minister stated that Aer Lingus is being completely transformed; that we are to have a new company with completely new powers and with approximately double the capital of the old one. That is the position as I understand it. I may be wrong. Like other Deputies, I have no desire other than to see this working out in the most successful way possible; but I should like an assurance that we are paying as much attention to the getting together of the machinery for operating our companies and our services, the staffing of the various offices, the provision of trained personnel, as we are to the matters that are immediately before us now.

In common with other people, I hear a good deal of criticism. Some of it, perhaps most of it, may be ill-informed, and some of it may arise from the fact that this is a completely new service and we know very little about it. Perhaps I speak with more ignorance than the average person, because I am one of those who have not yet had the pleasure of being either at Rineanna or Collinstown. But I have heard, I suppose in common with others, various complaints. I would be surprised, with the new service such as this one, that has expanded enormously in such a short time, the expansion coming, it is only fair to say, sooner than anyone could have anticipated, if there were not criticism and complaints. To what extent these are well-founded I do not know. I am sure that it will be the Minister's wish that, so far as the cause for complaint can be removed, it will be removed as early as possible. One of the complaints—it is better to mention it so that we can have a statement from the Minister—is that there is not sufficient staff to handle the rapidly-growing traffic; that the staff employed by Aer Lingus are overworked and are expected to work hours that, to say the least, are not fair. In relation to the payments which are being made to the staffs of other companies employed on the same work, and side by side with them, their pay is totally inadequate. There is a difference, not only in relation to what is paid to the employees of other companies, but in relation to the work which they have to perform. That is the sort of general complaint that I have got. I can see at certain periods, principally owing to weather conditions, that you will have a very big rush of work when planes will be held up for two or three days, and there may be other periods when you will have long gaps, when few, if any, planes arrive. However, these are matters of detail.

I think I understood the Minister to say that eight States had already ratified the convention and it must be ratified by 26 States. Can the Minister give us any information as to when it is expected the 26 States will ratify the convention, or at what stage the other States are towards the ratification of the convention? I think it would help not only towards the smoother working of aviation in this country, but it would remove a lot of criticism, and perhaps a great number of the complaints that have been made. The complaints may be considered as of a petty type, but we are now getting into this country people from all over the world and it is up to us to have things done here as well as it is possible to do them.

Our obligation, and particularly the obligation of the operating company, does not begin and end at the airport. If we simply wash our hands of any further responsibility towards people who come to this country once they step off the plane at Rineanna, and if we feel that we have no concern as to how they are to reach whatever part of the country they may be travelling to from Rineanna or Collinstown, we are not doing our duty. People may get a very wrong impression of things in this country. We know there have been very serious complaints, and I think they have some foundation, over the way in which people have been treated when they arrive in this country. That is something that will not be conducive either to the good name of the company or to the good name of the country. I should like that matter to be kept in the forefront of the operation of the company.

I have considered it desirable and my duty to put those complaints and points before the House. I should like to say, in connection with the signing of the American agreement, that I think the people who were charged with the negotiations, particularly in connection with the international convention, have upheld the prestige of this country while attending those international conferences and they have performed their work in a very fitting way.

I should like to get some more information from the Minister. As other Deputies have remarked, there has been considerable confusion in regard to this matter. Can the Minister indicate the necessity, for the future, of maintaining both companies? It appears to many people that there is no good reason why two companies, Aer Rianta and Aer Lingus, should be maintained. I suppose there are certain reasons, but I should like to hear about them from the Minister.

While most members of the Dáil and the public generally are anxious to see this country taking a prominent place in air navigation, it would be wrong to imagine that they could subscribe to this country joining in anything like a race for air supremacy. We see at various times statements made in Britain or America that one or the other is not competing satisfactorily, and in Britain certain people have expressed disappointment that the British are not taking a sufficiently adequate place in the development of civil aviation. While we are anxious to establish our position and provide adequate facilities here, it would be wrong for a small country such as this to attempt to launch itself into a campaign which would involve the country in heavy expenditure.

I should like to hear from the Minister whether the increased subsidy is repayable and, if so, what are the terms; and, in the event of the Minister for Finance subscribing additional capital to the new company, whether that capital will be repayable and on what terms. We should like to know also if the Minister for Finance is the largest shareholder in Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta. If the Minister gave the House the prospects, in so far as he can see them, of air development here, it might help to allay the considerable confusion which exists and some of the doubts which the general public have. Have there been any negotiations or are any contemplated between either Britain or America, irrespective of the joint arrangement between Britain and here? We should like to know whether there is any long-term arrangement for the use of the facilities at Rineanna or Foynes by an American company. One of the matters which has caused a certain amount of doubt is that no period in which these facilities can be made available has been decided. Perhaps the Minister will say if any arrangement has been made and, if so, what are the details.

The only case in regard to which I have heard any complaint is where people who are anxious to avail of our air facilities have found difficulty in booking seats. That may be due to the services being overworked. I have found considerable satisfaction in dealing with the officials of Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta, but visitors to this country and others anxious to travel to Britain or America have been disappointed occasionally when they cannot be provided more quickly with travelling facilities.

I think the House should feel grateful to the officials of the Minister's Department—I do not wish to mention any officials by name, but all of the officials—who undertook, over a protracted period, the carrying on of negotiations. They travelled abroad on a number of occasions in order to conclude the agreements to which this country has become a party and we should feel very grateful to them for all they have done.

To enable Deputies to get a clear picture of the organisation of air transport in this country as it will exist from this on, I would ask them to regard Aer Rianta as the senior company. Aer Rianta will be completely Irish-owned. The whole of its capital will be subscribed by the Minister for Finance. There will be no private shareholders. The function of Aer Rianta will be to contribute the appropriate proportion of the capital of Aer Lingus, to manage the Dublin airport and to operate transatlantic air services. It may get other functions later but these are the functions that are foreseen for it in the near future.

It will operate transatlantic air services?

It will operate transatlantic air services.

By its own planes?

Yes. Aer Lingus is a joint company constituted by agreement between Aer Rianta and the British Overseas Airways Corporation, owned as to 60 per cent. by Aer Rianta and 40 per cent. by the B.O.A.C., which will operate services from Ireland to Great Britain and services from Ireland to the Continent of Europe. That is the position as it will exist from this on. Aer Rianta was established originally as a separate organisation from Aer Lingus, which was then the only company operating air services here, because of an agreement which was made some ten years ago between ourselves and Great Britain, Canada and Newfoundland, to provide for a transatlantic air service by a joint company constituted by the main operating transport companies of these four States. That agreement lapsed. The functions of Aer Rianta tended for a time to become obscured and it might not have been necessary to maintain it as a separate organisation if this proposal for the operation of services to Great Britain and Europe by a joint company had not emerged. As that proposal has emerged and been implemented, it is clearly desirable that we should keep in existence a completely Irish-owned operating company to carry on services which are not operated for the joint company, the principal of which will to be to the United States of America.

We are not running any services to the United States at the moment?

No. There is no transatlantic service in operation at the moment. The planes and the equipment for the operation of the transatlantic service are on order but it is unlikely that the services will begin before the spring of next year. Aer Lingus, which is the joint company, will operate the services from this country and Great Britain, and will also operate services between Ireland and Europe. It is given, under the British agreement, the right to operate services across Great Britain to certain designated points in Europe. It is given the right to land in Britain and to take up traffic there for transportation to these points in Europe. At some stage services to this country, operated by companies of the nationality of the countries to which we shall run services, will also have rights to land here. The French agreement contemplated the operation of a service between Dublin and Paris by Aer Lingus and by a French company. The French company has not yet begun its service. Before services can be operated on the routes specified in the British agreement, it is necessary also to have agreements with the countries where these routes will terminate. Agreements have been concluded so far with France and Sweden and, with other countries concerned, negotiations are in progress. Under the British agreement, the British air company operating the transatlantic route is given the same right to use the Shannon port as is given to American companies. Similar rights have been given to a French company under the French agreement and to a Swedish company under the Swedish agreement. It is our intention to give these rights on terms which are mutually agreed to companies of any European country that desires to procure them.

I am glad that Deputy Morrissey referred to certain statements that were reported to have been made in the British House of Commons regarding our alleged objection to British planes flying here. There was no such objection on our part. Until the 1st May last, the air services between Great Britain and Ireland were operated partly by an Irish company and partly by a British company designated by the British Government for that purpose. Conceivably we could have arranged for the maintenance of these services by two separate companies dividing the traffic between them on a 50-50 basis, the Irish company operating under the authority of the Irish Government and the English company operating under the authority of the British Government. That arrangement would be similar to that we have made with France and similar to that which existed prior to the most recent agreement. There was no objection on our part to the continuation of such arrangement but, in the course of discussions with the British authorities, it was suggested and agreed that a more efficient and economical service could be provided for the public by the establishment of a joint company, that is to say, the operation of these services by one single organisation instead of by two separate organisations, however cordial the relations between them might be. We accepted the suggestion that efficient and economical operation would best be served by a joint company and authorised our company, Aer Rianta Teoranta, to conclude an agreement with the British Overseas Airways Corporation for the operation of this service by Aer Lingus and the reconstitution of Aer Lingus as a joint company on the basis I have indicated.

Some reference was made to British planes carrying the British flag. As a matter of fact civil air transport planes do not carry a flag. The phrase was used in the colloquial sense, associated with maritime matters. There is in our view a great deal to be said for the operation of the service between this country and Britain by a joint company but if the British authorities had desired to maintain the other system of operation by two separate companies, of which one would have been a British company, no objection would have been forthcoming on our side. British planes operating on the transatlantic route will have all five freedoms, to use the phrase which originated at the Chicago conference, at Shannon airport. Deputy Morrissey inquired at what time it was anticipated that the requisite number of States will have ratified the Chicago Convention. The recommendation of the council of the provisional organisation was for simultaneous ratification by the countries concerned by the 1st March next year. It was urged that ratification on a fixed date by all the States concerned would facilitate the transfer from the provisional organisation, which was established at Chicago, to the permanent organisation contemplated by the convention. The countries which have ratified the convention to date are Canada, China, the San Domingo Republic, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland and Turkey. There may be some ambiguity concerning the ratification by Poland.

Deputy Morrissey referred to certain complaints which he stated he had heard concerning the services provided at the airports and by the air operating companies. It is, I think, impossible to arrange any system of staffing in present circumstances which would avoid the necessity of air transport control staffs and similar essential staffs from having occasionally to work overtime, or from going on duty at exceptional hours. I think we must face up to the fact that we cannot hope at any time to be able to pay many classes of workers employed on air transport by ourselves on scales which have been established by the American companies. I think that, having regard to the remuneration available in comparable walks of life here, the salaries paid either in connection with airport management or air line operation are not open to criticism. There may be some basis for criticism of the arrangements made for the transportation of passengers to and from Shannon airport in present circumstances. I think I can say, however, that they are far superior to the arrangements at present existing at most other airports in Europe. No doubt arrangements elsewhere will be substantially improved in the course of time, and so will the arrangements at the Shannon. Most of the passengers arriving at the Shannon on international routes express appreciation of the facilities there as compared with the lack of facilities which they find elsewhere.

I do not think it was so much a question of facilities as of cost.

There is a bus service now from Limerick to Rineanna from five o'clock in the morning until two o'clock the following morning. There is only a period of three hours in which that service is not available.

That is a welcome change.

I mentioned that all the capital of Aer Rianta was held by the Minister for Finance with the exception of the qualifying shares held by the directors. All the capital in Aer Lingus is held by Aer Rianta. It is not intended that private capital should be sought for either company. I think these were the only matters that were raised. The necessity for a separate company arises out of the fact that Aer Rianta will have separate functions to perform and will in any event continue to be 100 per cent an Irish-owned company.

What is the total capital of Aer Rianta?

£2,000,000. It is probable that Aer Rianta will also undertake either directly, or through another subsidiary, aircraft maintenance and overhaul work. That, however, is a type of development that is not directly related to the operation of air services.

Who owns Collinstown and Rineanna?

They are both owned by the State. Collinstown is managed on behalf of the State by Aer Rianta. Rineanna is managed directly by the Department of Industry and Commerce.

Is all the capital that has gone into Collinstown and Rineanna, and that will in future go into them, entirely distinct from the capitalisation of Aer Rianta?

Yes. The whole of the amount expended on Collinstown and Rineanna was voted by the Dáil.

Are certain staffs and maintenance work there entirely outside the operation of the work of either Aer Rianta or Aer Lingus?

Yes. Aer Rianta manages Collinstown. Aer Lingus operates from the airport and stands in the same relation to the airport authority as Aer France or a company of any other nationality coming in there.

Does Aer Rianta get paid for the cost of managing the airport or does it act as an agent for the Department of Industry and Commerce?

It gets paid for managing the airport.

Out of the dues.

Partly out of dues and partly out of subsidy. There is a total sum voted and the amounts received come in as appropriations-in-aid. The staffs at Rineanna are paid by the Department of Industry and Commerce. It is necessary to maintain it on that basis so long as the work of development is going on, so long as there has to be additional expenditure on the enlargement of the runways and terminal buildings. It will be necessary to do that until some stage of finality as regards the development works can be foreseen in which case it is possible that different arrangements may have to be adopted in regard to the management of the Rineanna airport.

Does that include the restaurant there?

There is a catering contract at Rineanna.

Has Aer Lingus undertaken development work?

No. Airports are constructed by the State as a transport service the same as roads.

Will Aer Rianta hand over these airports when they are paid for?

The State owns the airports. They will not be handed over to anybody.

Is this the position, that Aer Rianta which is a company capitalised entirely by the State, is running the services to the United States of America? Aer Lingus, Teo., which is a joint company is operating over Rineanna with the B.O.A.C. They have their own capital and do their own work. Then there is Collinstown, which has been built at the expense of the State, and is maintained by the State. It is using the machinery of Aer Rianta to manage it. Outside the management of Collinstown by Aer Rianta the State has practically no part in its management. In Rineanna the position is that State machinery for capital development was and will continue to carry out the management. As far as Aer Rianta or Aer Lingus or anybody else is concerned the position is that they simply use the airports which were capitalised and managed by the State.

Is Foynes under Rineanna's management?

Foynes and Rineanna constitute the Shannon airport. I think I should express appreciation of the complimentary references made by Deputies to the staff of the Department, and particularly to the officers who so successfully represented this country at the recent conferences the outcome of which must be regarded as highly satisfactory by all concerned.

Could the Minister give some further information as to why it is necessary to increase the subsidy by a further £250,000?

It is impossible to forecast what the effect of operating the new service will be for some time. It is reasonable to assume that the transatlantic services, and possibly new European services, will have losses for some time.

It is for that period?

It is for that purpose and to meet any losses, particularly in the development stage. The amount is limited to £250,000 for five years. If the amount required should exceed that, it will be necessary to come back to the Dáil to get new legislation, or if it is necessary to maintain the arrangement for a further period new legislation will also be required.

Question put and agreed to.

When will the Committee Stage be taken?

I was going to suggest Thursday. This is not the type of Bill that will be liable to amendment.

There is no objection.

Committee Stage ordered for Thursday, 11th July.

I should like to protest against the haste with which stages of this Bill are being taken.

It is rather late to do so now. If the Deputy raised that point when business was being ordered to-day, I could have made some arrangement with other Deputies.

I raised it now on account of taking the Committee Stage on Thursday.

The Deputy will understand that the Order of Business was taken after questions, when I could have altered the order so that Deputies interested would have information of when the other business was going to be taken. It cannot be altered now.

It is the time given between the Second Reading and the Committee Stage that I refer to. There has not been time for informed public opinion interested in the Bill to read it or to prepare amendments. I wish to make that protest formally.

As a matter of fact, it was agreed to by the House.

The Deputy should have raised the objection after questions.