Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - US Airline Landing Rights.


Mr. O'Donnell

asked the Minister for Transport and Power whether he has commissioned any survey or examination into the implications for Shannon Airport and western tourism of granting landing rights at Dublin Airport to one US airline; and, if not, why.

If the Deputy means a survey by a firm of consultants the answer is in the negative. All aspects of the question are, of course, being examined in my Department, in consultation with Bord Fáilte, Shannon Free Airport Development Company, Aerlínte and Aer Rianta.

Mr. O'Donnell

I want to ascertain whether the Minister has commissioned any independent survey into the implications for Shannon and for western tourism of the admission of American carriers into Dublin? An examination by the Minister's Department is one thing, but has any independent organisation been commissioned to survey the implications?

As I told the Deputy previously, my Department and the economic consultant to the Taoiseach and the Government, Dr. O'Donohue, are engaged in a very detailed independent survey of this kind, putting our expertise against that of Aer Lingus in regard to what they submit as figures. We found there were certain unviable considerations involved in a stop at Shannon solely and that a stop at Shannon solely was not at all acceptable to the Americans. The matter would be largely an academic exercise once the American request was for a landing at Dublin.

Mr. O'Donnell

Would the Minister say whether or not Bord Fáilte, who surely would have a major interest in this whole question, carried out a survey into the implications for Shannon and for the tourist industry of allowing the Americans into Dublin?

Yes, they have done so. It is not in the interests of everybody concerned to reveal what the findings were.

Mr. O'Donnell

Is it not a fact that the Minister has decided himself, without taking into account the implications for Shannon, to allow one airline into Dublin? Will the Minister be honest and admit that this is so?

At this stage I, as Minister, fully understand all the implications involved.