With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 18, 19, 20 and 21 together.
An air carrier requires the prior permission of my Department for the operation of inclusive tour charter flights between Ireland and the Continent. This permission is normally forthcoming where the conditions laid down for the operation of such flights are complied with. These conditions have been promulgated in the official Aeronautical Information Publication and are well known to the air carriers; they have also been distributed widely in the travel trade.
These regulations provide for minimum prices and for applications to be made in good time where exceptional price reductions are sought. They are aimed at protecting scheduled operations and at orderly development of the tour business itself. Recently a number of applications received from foreign carriers for the operation of inclusive tour charter flights series to the Continent, which did not comply with the conditions, particularly the minimum price requirement, and were not made in good time, were not authorised. Some of the carriers have lodged appeals and I am considering these.
The Deputies may have seen the recent press notice on inclusive tour charters. This was inserted in the public interest as a warning to intending travellers that before booking on an inclusive tour flight, they should satisfy themselves that the flight has been duly authorised.
The present difficulties apply to outgoing charters. I am not aware of any irregularities in regard to incoming charters and do not think that they will be affected.