Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Questions (1058)

Darren O'Rourke

Question:

1058. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has engaged with Irish airline carriers to explore the possibility of maximising their role in Government and private cargo export contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6748/20]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The air cargo sector is fully liberalised and airlines are free to operate on a commercial basis in response to market developments internationally.  With a view to keeping essential air cargo flows moving during the COVID-19 crisis, my Department fully supports the European Commission's recent guidance recommending a range of operational and organisational steps to ensure continuous flow of goods in a cooperative manner across the EU.

My Department was also instrumental in securing the necessary aeronautical approvals to allow Aer Lingus to operate their ongoing flight programme from Beijing, which is providing significant quantities of PPE for the Health Service Executive.

Officials from my Department continue to engage on a regular basis with airlines, other aviation stakeholders, and with the European Commission on efforts to maintain essential supply lines, and other related issues.