Written Answers. - Aer Rianta's International Business.

Eric J. Byrne


32 Mr. E. Byrne asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications the future plans, if any, for Aer Rianta's international operations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8948/95]

The development of Aer Rianta's international business is a matter for the company's subsidiary, Aer Rianta International.

In contrast to many other airport authorities abroad, Aer Rianta provides its own duty free retailing at Dublin, Shannon and Cork Airports, together with airport operational services. This combination gives the company a key competitive advantage in marketing its services internationally. Aer Rianta International now provides commercial retailing services in 12 different countries overseas mainly through joint ventures and management contracts.
Aircraft landing charges and passenger load fees at the three State airports have been frozen since 1987, in the interests of keeping access costs into and out of Ireland to the minimum. Duty free sales within the European Union are due to be abolished in 1999. Taking account of these factors, I have encouraged Aer Rianta to maximise the contribution of their existing overseas commercial units, and to source strategic external partners to allow the full potential of the business to be realised.
I have made it clear that this expansion must be structured so that it supports the primary requirement to develop the airports here at home.