Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Questions (262)

Bernard Durkan


262. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the degree to which national and international airports here can interlink with global transport with a view to maximising passenger throughput through competitiveness, efficiency and accessibility and with consequent benefit to the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15641/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

This question relates to Ireland's connectivity in the global market. As an island nation, with a peripheral location, access infrastructure is of vital strategic importance to the Irish economy. Irish airports have a critical role in supporting economic development by facilitating trade, tourism and inward investment. Foreign direct investment continues to be a key driver of the Irish economy and the proximity of a well connected airport continues to be an essential factor when a multinational company decides on location. Recognition of the importance of connectivity to the Irish economy was one of the main reasons this Government prioritised the cutting of the air travel tax to zero. This action, which was announced as part of Budget 2014 and came into effect yesterday was designed to generate additional air capacity and services to Ireland for the business and tourism sectors. I am very pleased to see there has already been a very positive response to this announcement. Both Irish and foreign airlines announced 34 new routes/services at Irish airports for the 2014 season. My focus as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport is to encourage airlines and our airports to generate even more direct air services into Ireland in the years ahead.