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2006
Aer Lingus guarantee regarding trans-Atlantic flights through Shannon airport
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6 July 2006

To ask the Minister for Transport if, in view of the guarantee of 400,000 transatlantic passengers made by Aer Lingus through Shannon Airport post open skies, he has received this guarantee in writing; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Pat Breen.

For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 6th July, 2006.

Ref No:   27500/06     Proof:   525

To ask the Minister for Transport the number of Aer Lingus daily direct departures from Shannon Airport to the US, post open skies, during both the winter and summer seasons; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Pat Breen.

For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 6th July, 2006.

Ref No:   27501/06     Proof:   526

Answered by the Minister for Transport

(Martin Cullen)

REPLY

I propose to take Questions 439 and 440 together. 

The Deputy will be aware that Aer Lingus currently provides a range of transatlantic services from Shannon carrying some 400,000 passengers per annum on a commercially viable basis.    However, in November last year I secured agreement with the US authorities on transitional arrangements for Shannon in the context of proposals for an EU/US open skies agreement.  At that time, I sought and received assurances from Aer Lingus that, in the context of a level playing field for the airline and its competitors, it would maintain the current level of transatlantic traffic  with regular year round scheduled services between Shannon and Boston and New York.

I did not request or receive these assurances in writing from the company. As the Deputy will be aware the discussions on a new EU/US Open Skies agreement are ongoing.