Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Questions (60)

Brendan Smith

Question:

60. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the discussions, if any, he has had in relation to the need to develop direct flight connections between Ireland and west coast USA in view of the potential to develop further trade opportunities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21881/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Government is strongly supportive of efforts to re-establish a direct air link with the US West Coast which would further enhance our considerable existing economic relationship with the region and increase tourist traffic. I am optimistic that progress will be made in this regard. My Department through our Consulate General in San Francisco continues to closely monitor the issue and encourage the efforts to re-establish the direct air link. It is a matter that has arisen frequently in my discussions with US-based members of the Global Irish Network. In addition, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport continues to highlight this opportunity in his discussions with airlines, Irish and foreign. It is, of course, open to any EU or US airline to operate services between Ireland and the US under the EU-US Open Skies Agreement. Ultimately, decisions on what routes to serve are a matter for the airlines based on their own commercial judgements.