Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - London-Shannon Air Fares.

12.

Mr. O'Donnell

asked the Minister for Transport and Power the lowest return air fare between London and Shannon available to an Irish adult resident in Britain and returning to Ireland in July or August, 1972, for a fortnight's holiday with relatives.

The lowest public fare available between London and Shannon in July or August is £29.55 return.

Mr. O'Donnell

Does the Minister not agree that the figure of £29 return fare between Shannon and London is absolutely prohibitive and will impede any efforts made to generate additional ethnic traffic to this country from Great Britain? How does the Minister reconcile this figure with the announcement of BEA and Caledonian Airways yesterday of a return fare at weekends of £13 between London and Belfast?

The Deputy is confusing two matters. Aer Lingus have reduced fares also for packages. The Deputy will find that that figure applies to a package. The Deputy in his question asked for the normal fare, outside a package arrangement. There are attractive package arrangements in which Aer Lingus guarantee totally free road services and reduced hotel rates. These are all involved in a package with the air fare. These packages are available throughout the year and have been publicised and are proving successful. If the Deputy puts down another question on this matter I will answer it fully.

(Cavan): Is it correct to say that there is a fare of about £10 or £12 return available if a person stays more than six days and less than 30 days, but that if he goes on an emergency trip and comes back in two or three days time the fare is over £20?

In a package, by almost eliminating road and rail transport costs and reducing accommodation costs, one can offer a package figure which is very attractive but is quite unrelated to the normal scheduled fare, which is a different matter altogether.

(Cavan): I was not referring to anything in the nature of a package. If a person does not stay more than six days he has to pay over £20, but if he stays eight days or more he has only to pay £12.

That is what the package is all about. The package is designed to ensure the maximum stay at the minimum cost for the tourist customer coming here. There is a combination then between the air or sea carriers, road or rail carriers, and the hotel, guesthouse or farmhouse involved. It is all in the package.

(Cavan): Would the Minister agree that the situation is not clearly understood?

If the Deputy wishes I will give particulars of the packages offered by our carriers and by Bord Fáilte.