CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
14th December 2007
Ladies and gentlemen, as Minister for Transport I am delighted to be here at the launch of this new CityJet/Air France daily service from Shannon Airport to Charles de Gaulle in Paris.
I am very aware of the importance of ensuring that the Mid West region continues to enjoy connectivity to key international destinations.
With this new service CityJet and Air France will provide a business-quality service for the region with access to over 800 destinations throughout the world.
Over the past few months I and my officials have met with local community and business associations in the Mid West. We have stayed in regular contact with the Shannon Airport Authority to give our full support to their efforts to attract a new airline to the region.
I met with the management of CityJet and Air France when they were assessing the market potential of Shannon Airport and the Mid West to encourage them to look favourably on the Shannon option.
I am delighted, therefore, with the news that CityJet and its parent company Air France have decided to commence this new daily schedule from Shannon Airport.
It is great to be in the company of Christine Ourmieres from Air France, Geoffrey O'Byrne White from CityJet and Pat Shanahan from Shannon Airport Authority on this important day for the Mid West.
It is providing strategic access to the area from hundreds of destinations around the world and it is up to all of us to make sure that we grasp this opportunity for the benefit of the local community.
I am well aware that this is not the easiest time for an airline to commit to a new route and to re-organise departure and arrival schedules at one of the busiest airports in the world.
For that and on behalf of the Government, I wish to extend my sincerest gratitude to CityJet and Air France.
They have ensured that despite the difficulties they experienced in making aircraft available there will be no break in access to international destinations.
I believe the commitment of CityJet and Air France to work with Shannon Airport and the local community will contribute to attracting new industry and new visitors to the area and I urge everybody in the business community in the Mid West to support this new service.
I thank the management and staff at Shannon airport for their hard work in attracting CityJet and Air France to the area.
I wish all those who will work on and avail of this new service every success in the future.