This link skips through to the page content, for screen readersDepartment of Transport logoAviation
2003
Plans for the Future of Aer Lingus
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21 May 2003

To ask the Minister for Transport the Government's proposals for the future of Aer Lingus, especially having regard to the strategic importance of the company for the tourism industry; the discussions he has had with the management or the trade unions regarding the future of the airline; if a decision has been made to sell off all or part of the company; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

- Seán Ryan. (Nominated by: Róisín Shortall).
For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 21st May, 2003.
Ref No:   13689/03     Lottery:   65     Proof:   73

To ask the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to the recent statement made by the Chief Executive of Aer Lingus that the airline would fly to up to 16 additional destinations in the US if the rules regarding transatlantic aviation could be changed; if it is intended to seek such changes to facilitate the development of these routes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

- Seán Ryan. (Nominated by: Róisín Shortall).
For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 21st May, 2003.
Ref No:   13690/03     Lottery:   35     Proof:   43

To ask the Minister for Transport his plans for the future of Aer Lingus.

- Jim O'Keeffe.
For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 21st May, 2003.
Ref No:   13736/03     Lottery:   22     Proof:   30

Answered by the Minister for Transport
(Seamus Brennan)

Reply

I propose to answer Question Nos._____ , _____and _____ together.

The Deputies may be aware that on the 15th April 2003, the Government approved the re-drafting of the Aer Lingus Bill 2000 to give effect to the Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP) agreed between Government and Aer Lingus Unions in December 2001 and to provide for a process of private sector investment in the airline. Work on drafting the Bill is now underway and I expect it to be finalized over the next few weeks. I will then seek Government approval to publish the Bill and to introduce it in the current Parliamentary session.

In relation to the actual external investment process, the Government agreed that the Minster for Finance and I should review the situation regarding the timing of such a process, taking account of market conditions and the Companys funding requirements. Once the review is completed, I will revert to Government on the timing and nature of a transaction mechanism to give effect to any private sector investment in Aer Lingus.

As I indicated in my reply to Priority PQ No._____ , one of the issues I will consider in finalising the Irish position on an EU/US open skies mandate for the upcoming Transport Council meeting is the opportunities for Aer Lingus, and therefore Irish tourism, of opening new US services. In this context, I have carefully noted the Aer Lingus position on this issue.