Written Answers. - Air Services.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

236 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Transport when money was last paid to a company (details supplied) under the PSO; the amount which was paid over; the amount of money which has been paid to this company in total; and if this company is still in operation. [19056/03]

In June of last year, following an EU public tender process, the company in question, a British registered air carrier, was awarded the contracts to operate air services on the Donegal and Sligo PSO routes for a three-year period. On 21 January 2003, the company informed my Department that the British civil aviation authorities had decided to suspend the airline's operating licences and, as a result, the company was no longer in a position to operate air services on the Donegal and Sligo PSO routes. The total amount of compensation which was paid to the company under the relevant contracts with my Department in respect of PSO services on the two routes from the period 22 July 2002 to 21 January 2003 was €2,501,299, this includes the final payment to the company in the amount of €273,370 which was paid at the end of February 2003. The company has not operated any PSO routes in Ireland since January 2003.