1. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his intentions with regard to the State’s holding in Aer Lingus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57533/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Air Services)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): The question relates to the Minister’s intentions concerning the State’s shareholding in Aer Lingus. This shareholding is one of the assets included in the State asset disposal programme and the Government has agreed that the shareholding is to be sold at an appropriate time but only when market conditions are favourable and at an acceptable price to be agreed by Government. A steering group has been estab...

675. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will request all airline companies to maintain competitive value for money air fares in 2013 in order to ensure that the maximum number of our diaspora visit the country and ensure that the Gathering is a success; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 56307/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Air Services Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The market for air services in and out of Ireland is highly competitive with a very significant number of airlines operating.  The market for air services within the EU has been liberalised since the early 1990s and the market between the EU and the US was liberalised under the EU-US Open Skies agreement in 2007.  It is not open to me or to other Governments to interfere in pricing in the market and airlines are completely free t...

694. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason passenger numbers at Shannon Airport fell from 3.6 million in 2007 to 1.5 million in 2012 notwithstanding the substantial State supports to the airport over this period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 56925/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Air Services Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The fall in passenger numbers at Shannon Airport in the period in question has been attributed to the general economic decline, which has of course affected all airports to various degrees, and to the substantial withdrawal of air services from the airport by a major airline. The State provides no Exchequer support to Shannon or the other two State Airports at Dublin and Cork.
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64. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if funding will be provided to maintain the service that Aer Arann provides to the Aran islands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54865/12 asked on 06 Dec 2012 - Air Services Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley) (Deputy Dinny McGinley): As the Deputy may be aware, the current contract for provision of an air service for the Aran Islands is in place until 31 August 2013. No decision has been made in relation to renewal of the contract. The issue will be examined in the context of the budget available to my Department for the provision of island transport services for future years.
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177. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on flight paths for Weston Aerodrome in Lucan; the steps being taken to protect residential amenity and ensure public safety (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 55018/12 asked on 06 Dec 2012 - Air Services Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has responsibility for the licensing of aerodromes in Ireland including the approval of flight paths, so I have referred the question to them for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply has not been received within 10 working days.
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140. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the total number of passengers between 1 June 2012 and 31 August 2012 into Dublin Airport, Shannon Airport and Kerry Airport. (Question 54652/12 asked on 05 Dec 2012 - Air Services Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 140 to 143, inclusive, together.
The matters raised by the Deputy in relation to passenger numbers at Dublin and Shannon Airports fall within the operational responsibilities of Dublin Airport Authority and I have referred the questions to the company for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply has not been received within ten working days.  In relation to Kerry Airport...

141. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the average number of passengers per week to date in 2012 for Dublin Airport, Shannon Airport and Kerry Airport. (Question 54653/12 asked on 05 Dec 2012 - Air Services Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 140 to 143, inclusive, together.
The matters raised by the Deputy in relation to passenger numbers at Dublin and Shannon Airports fall within the operational responsibilities of Dublin Airport Authority and I have referred the questions to the company for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply has not been received within ten working days.  In relation to Kerry Airport...

142. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the change in the total number of passengers in months June, July and August 2012 from the same tourist season 2011 into Dublin Airport, Shannon Airport and Kerry Airport. (Question 54654/12 asked on 05 Dec 2012 - Air Services Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 140 to 143, inclusive, together.
The matters raised by the Deputy in relation to passenger numbers at Dublin and Shannon Airports fall within the operational responsibilities of Dublin Airport Authority and I have referred the questions to the company for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply has not been received within ten working days.  In relation to Kerry Airport...

143. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of extra flights into Dublin Airport, Shannon Airport and Kerry Airport to date in 2012 compared to 2010. (Question 54655/12 asked on 05 Dec 2012 - Air Services Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 140 to 143, inclusive, together.
The matters raised by the Deputy in relation to passenger numbers at Dublin and Shannon Airports fall within the operational responsibilities of Dublin Airport Authority and I have referred the questions to the company for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply has not been received within ten working days.  In relation to Kerry Airport...

18. D’fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den an Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta sé i gceist aige a chinntiú go leanfar leis an tseirbhís aeir go hÁrainn tar éis Mhí Lúnasa seo chugainn; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. (Question 52994/12 asked on 28 Nov 2012 - Air Services Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley) (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Tá sé i gceist agam Ceisteanna Uimh. 18 agus 140 a thógáil le chéile.
Beidh an conradh reatha ceithre bliana chun seirbhís aeir a chur ar fáil d’Oileáin Árann faoi Oibleagáid Seirbhíse Poiblí ag teacht chun deiridh ar 31 Lúnasa 2013. Ina theannta sin, tá conradh eile ag mo Roinn chun bainistiú a dhéanamh ar na haeradróim ar na hoileáin agus tiocfaidh deireadh leis an gconradh...

140. D’fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den an Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an bhfuil sé i gceist aige a chinntiú go leanfar leis an tseirbhís aeir go hÁrainn tar éis mhí Lúnasa seo chugainn. (Question 53116/12 asked on 28 Nov 2012 - Air Services Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley) (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Tá sé i gceist agam Ceisteanna Uimh. 18 agus 140 a thógáil le chéile.
Beidh an conradh reatha ceithre bliana chun seirbhís aeir a chur ar fáil d’Oileáin Árann faoi Oibleagáid Seirbhíse Poiblí ag teacht chun deiridh ar 31 Lúnasa 2013. Ina theannta sin, tá conradh eile ag mo Roinn chun bainistiú a dhéanamh ar na haeradróim ar na hoileáin agus tiocfaidh deireadh leis an gconradh...

146. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on progress made in improving safety regulations for pilots across the EU but especially in Ireland where some work conditions are not conducive to ensuring that pilots are at their best when flying in particular flight time limitations; if he is concerned that current proposals are not sufficiently in line with what research has found to be best practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52660/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Air Services Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The subject matter of this particular question, the safety regulation of aviation, and in particular, flight time limitations for flight crews, is the statutory responsibility of the Irish Aviation Authority, and I have referred the question to them for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply has not been received within 10 working days.
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155. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will develop and publish an aviation policy, setting out a clear vision for the development of this sector over the coming decade; if Cork Airport will be a central component to this policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52659/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Air Services Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The primary aim of our aviation policy at present as set out in my Department’s Statement of Strategy 2011-2014 is to ensure that the sector supports Ireland’s economic and social goals in a safe, competitive, cost-effective and sustainable manner and to ensure maximum connectivity for Ireland with the rest of the world. Given the critical importance of the sector to the economy, I have decided to launch a review process for the d...

717. Deputy Ann Phelan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on the withdrawal, by Aer Lingus of its services, provided in this instance by its subsidiary, Aer Arann, to the UK airports, London Luton, London Southend, and Manchester from Waterford Airport (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52561/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Air Services Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The decision by Aer Arann, operating as Aer Lingus Regional, to suspend the services mentioned between Waterford and the UK in January 2013, is regrettable. It was, nonetheless, a commercial decision that the airline decided to make as it believed that it could no longer sustain the losses it was incurring on these routes. The air transport market in the European Union is completely liberalised so airlines are free to decide what...

665. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has engaged with airlines to ascertain if they will provide special offers to persons willing to come here for the Gathering; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51441/12 asked on 20 Nov 2012 - Air Services Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The market for air services in and out of Ireland is highly competitive with a very significant number of airlines operating.  The market for air services within the EU has been liberalised since the early 1990s and the market between the EU and the US was liberalised under the EU-US Open Skies agreement in 2007.  It is not open to me or to other Governments to interfere in pricing in the market; airlines are completely free to s...

1203. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress that has been made to date in improving air access to Ireland from North America; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47551/12 asked on 06 Nov 2012 - Air Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar)(Deputy Leo Varadkar): Air access between Ireland and North American is crucially important for trade and tourism. In this regard, there have recently been two important announcements.
As part of a recent tourism mission to North America to promote the Gathering, I met with United Airlines in Chicago and a new Chicago-Shannon route has been confirmed for next summer.  In addition, American Airlines recently announced that it is to be...

54. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will develop and publish an aviation policy for the State, setting out a clear vision for the development of this sector over the coming decade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45208/12 asked on 18 Oct 2012 - Air Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 54, 60 and 68 together. 
These questions relate to the development of a new civil aviation policy. 
The primary aim of our aviation policy at present as set out in my Department’s Statement of Strategy 2011-2014 is to ensure that the sector supports Ireland’s economic and social goals in a safe, competitive, cost-effective and sustainable manner and to ensure maximum connectivity for Ireland with th...

60. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will develop and publish an aviation policy for the State, setting out a clear vision for the development of this sector over the coming decade; if Cork Airport will be a central component to this policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44936/12 asked on 18 Oct 2012 - Air Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 54, 60 and 68 together. 
These questions relate to the development of a new civil aviation policy. 
The primary aim of our aviation policy at present as set out in my Department’s Statement of Strategy 2011-2014 is to ensure that the sector supports Ireland’s economic and social goals in a safe, competitive, cost-effective and sustainable manner and to ensure maximum connectivity for Ireland with th...

68. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if, in the event of a new national aviation policy being prepared, he will consider the status and regulation of small local airfields and local flying activity which has an impact on local businesses and residents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45209/12 asked on 18 Oct 2012 - Air Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 54, 60 and 68 together. 
These questions relate to the development of a new civil aviation policy. 
The primary aim of our aviation policy at present as set out in my Department’s Statement of Strategy 2011-2014 is to ensure that the sector supports Ireland’s economic and social goals in a safe, competitive, cost-effective and sustainable manner and to ensure maximum connectivity for Ireland with th...

730. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will respond to the following query regarding Ryanair’s bid for Aer Lingus (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44661/12 asked on 16 Oct 2012 - Air Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Under Irish Takeover Panels rules, Ryanair’s recent takeover Offer for Aer Lingus has lapsed and is no longer capable of completion following the European Commission’s decision to undertake an in-depth examination (a Phase II examination) of the offer under EU merger control rules. 
The Commission announced its decision to undertake an in-depth examination of the Offer on 29th August as  its initial Phase I examination indicated po...

940. Deputy Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Arts; Heritage and the Gaeltacht the position regarding the construction of terminal buildings at airstrips on Inishbofin and near Cleggan, County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39255/12 asked on 18 Sep 2012 - Air Services)

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht(Deputy Dinny McGinley): Following receipt of planning permission, consultants retained by my Department are undertaking the next step in the process of developing terminal buildings at the airstrips referred to by the Deputy, with the tender documents for the construction phase currently being prepared. Question No. 941 answered with Question No. 904.
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1933. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to concerns that the European Aviation Safety Agency is advocating longer working / flying hours limits for pilots and crew in the development of new legislation and in doing so is ignoring scientific research it had commissioned, the findings of which were published in the Moebus Report in January 2009, which pointed to tightening the limits on the amount of time a pilot should be able to fly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39143/12 asked on 18 Sep 2012 - Air Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The Deputy’s question relates to the flight time limitations of air crews.
The current EU rules on Flight Time Limitations for commercial air transport operations are in place since July 2008 and were agreed following difficult negotiations in the EU Council and Parliament.  Under EU Regulations, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is now charged with developing detailed technical rules for all aspects of aircraft operations...