Thursday, 4 July 2019

Questions (407)

Michael McGrath


407. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on the granting of fifth freedom traffic rights to an airline (details supplied) for the Dublin to Madrid route; his views on whether the decision potentially creates a competitive distortion in view of the different obligations on an airline with such rights; his policy in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28779/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Ireland - Ethiopia Bilateral Air Services Agreement, signed in 2014, allows for the granting of fifth freedom air traffic rights for airlines of both countries, on a reciprocal basis and subject to the approval of the relevant aeronautical authorities.

Ethiopian Airlines applied to both the Spanish and Irish aeronautical authorities in 2018 for approval of their Addis Ababa - Madrid - Dublin (return) route. Following confirmation of approval by the Spanish Aeronautical Authorities and having consulted with Irish air carriers, the Department authorised the route as it conformed with the rights provided under the Air Services Agreement.

Ireland traditionally has a liberal aviation policy and remains positively disposed towards the development of competitive air services. In that context, my Department will continue to consider applications for fifth freedom air traffic rights under bilateral air services agreements, on a case-by-case basis.