Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (761)

Bernard Durkan


761. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the extent to which airlines such as Air India might be encouraged to land in Dublin-Shannon Airport while en route to New York; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5425/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

National aviation policy is aimed at facilitating maximum connectivity into and out of Ireland. The operation of air services between Ireland and non-EU states is governed either by bilateral air transport agreements or by EU-level air transport agreements.  Governments have no direct role in arranging the provision of international air services but can facilitate the market by having bilateral air transport agreements in place. Ireland has a bilateral agreement with India which provides the basis on which direct services could be provided by operators in the market. It is a matter for designated airlines to apply for particular routes under the Ireland-India Bilateral Agreement. Should Air India under the Agreement apply for the type of route proposed, the granting of such traffic rights would be subject to the agreement of the Irish and Indian authorities.

As Minister for Transport and for Tourism, I actively encourage airlines to either provide or increase services to Ireland. I regularly meet with executives from airlines to highlight the advantages of providing services to Ireland and the supports that are available to them here. Tourism Ireland constantly engage with airlines in the same vein. They identify routes that are of importance to the Irish tourism market and then seek to secure these services.  This is done through highlighting to airlines the attractions of Ireland, providing details on the tourism markets between the two countries, and if airlines choose to serve Ireland, Tourism Ireland support important tourism routes with co-operative marketing. The State Airport companies offer attractive incentive packages for new long haul routes including the waiving of landing fees. However ultimately it is a matter for the airlines themselves to decide what routes they will serve based on their own commercial judgements, taking account of the demand for services and the facilities available at those airports.