Written Answers. - Landing Charges Derogation.

John Dennehy

Ceist:

199 Mr. Dennehy asked the Minister for Public Enterprise if she has satisfied herself that the aviation authorities are operating the three year passenger and landing charges derogation in a manner that is consistent with her stated policy of balanced regional development and that no additional incentives have been made available to attract new services to Shannon airport which are not similarly offered to increase services from Cork airport. [27638/01]

Aer Rianta has assured me that there is no difference in the treatment of Shannon and Cork Airports as far as their newly expanded incentive scheme is concerned, i.e., the same scheme applies for new routes developed into both of these airports. Following the dramatic downturn in the global aviation sector as a result of the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September, I requested Aer Rianta to consider initiatives to sustain and grow traffic at the three State Airports. Aer Rianta responded positively to my request by offering a range of new incentives, commencing on 1 October 2001, to airlines which launch new routes into Dublin, Shannon and Cork Airports. The Company improved its incentive schemes at Shannon and Cork by increasing the period for zero airport charges for new routes from three to four years. Aer Rianta also extended this scheme to Dublin Airport where there will be no airport charges levied on airlines for new routes for a period of three years. In addition, Aer Rianta will provide marketing support for route development promotional activities. I very much welcome these initiatives on the part of Aer Rianta. They are intended to help reduce the impact of the current global aviation downturn on traffic at the State airports and to boost the Irish aviation and tourism sectors in the months and years ahead.