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Regional Airports.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 9 December 2009

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Questions (55)

Ciaran Lynch


69 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Transport if he has made recommendations to the Department of Finance regarding the Public Service obligation subsidy for regional airports in view of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes on public sector costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45893/09]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

The Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes on Public Sector Costs (An Bord Snip) recommended that the Public Service Obligations for air services should be discontinued after the ending of the present contracts.

This proposal has been considered as part of the discussions with the Department of Finance relating to the Estimates for 2010 and later years. The current PSO contracts commenced on 22 July 2008 and are due to expire on 20 July 2011. The contracts have been awarded for services linking Dublin Airport with the regional airports at Derry, Donegal, Sligo, Ireland West Airport Knock, Galway and Kerry Airports. In 2010 there will be sufficient funds available to maintain the operations of existing PSO Air Services contracts.

Under updated EU legislation governing these services, more stringent conditions will apply to future PSO arrangements (i.e. from July 2011), having regard for example, to the availability of other transport connections and especially rail services with a travelling time of three hours or less.

I expect that a Value for Money review of regional airports being carried out within my Department will assist me in evaluating the appropriate scale of a regional airports programme in subsequent years bearing in mind my aviation policy objectives, the improved surface transport links under the NDP and Transport 21 and the need to address the difficulties with our public finances.

Question No. 70 answered with Question No. 48.