Written Answers. - Transatlantic Services.

Batt O'Keeffe

Question:

134 Mr. B. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications his views on whether a proper open skies airline policy should operate between Ireland and the United States as proposed in the study entitled, Tourism Policy and Performance. [1959/97]

I am not aware that the report entitled Tourism Policy and Performance contains any proposals for an open skies policy between Ireland and the United States.

The negotiation of an open skies agreement between Ireland and the US would have implications for existing Government policy in relation to transatlantic services.

The Deputy may also be aware that the European Commission has received a mandate from the Council of Ministers for Transport to negotiate with the US on a so-called common aviation area between the EU and the US. At this stage, the mandate does not allow for negotiations on traffic rights. The first round of negotiations took place on 30-31 October last. It is too early to speculate on the outcome of these negotiations and any consequent implications for Ireland.