To ask the Minister for Transport when the Government funding will be put in place for the urgent implementation of the €53 million Mid-West Tourism and Economic Development plan (details supplied).
Kieran O'Donnell. (Nominated by: Róisín Shortall).
For ORAL answer on Thursday, 28th June, 2007.
Identical Question(s): with 35
Shannon International Airport in "Open Skies" - Mid-West Tourism & Economic development plan, June 2006, prepared by the Mid-West Regional Authority
Ref No: 17920/07
Answered by the Minister for Transport
Earlier this year the EU and the US reached agreement on a multilateral air transport agreement Open Skies which envisages more liberalised air service arrangements on the transatlantic market. The agreement on Open Skies follows several years of negotiations at EU US level and marks an historic step in advancing the development of international regulation of aviation and is expected to yield significant economic benefits on both sides of the Atlantic.
As part of the transitional arrangements relating to Ireland, the Shannon Stop requirement is being phased out and will end in April 2008. In the meantime air carriers are required to serve Dublin and Shannon on a 3:1 basis over the period October 2006 to March 2008. At the same time the restriction on the number of US cities that can be served by Irish carriers have been lifted. As a result, Aer Lingus will commence three new services from Dublin to the US from Autumn 2007 to San Francisco, Orlando and Washington.
With a view to assisting Shannon airport, and the wider region, to adapt to the new regime, my Department has drawn up an Economic and Tourism Development Plan for Shannon. This follows a commitment given by my predecessor Minister Cullen, which is now reflected in the new Programme for Government. I expect to be in a position to bring the Economic and Tourism Plan for Shannon to finalisation shortly.
In preparing the Plan, my Department has consulted with the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism, the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment, the Department of Communications & Natural Resources and the Department of Finance.
A liaison group, established by the Mid West Regional Authority, has separately prepared a report on the future development of the Shannon region as an input to the Departments Plan.