Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 30 March 2021
Select Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport
Estimates for Public Services 2021
Vote 29 - Environment, Climate and Communications (Revised)
Vote 31 - Transport (Revised)
That is positive. It must be backed with funding and I am sure this will be forthcoming from Government. Another key issue is route development and retention. I know that across Europe, there was an easing of the rules that typically applied to the holding of landing slots at hub airports but from midsummer onwards, we need funds to attract new routes and retain existing ones. It is essential. We will need to see PSO routes out of airports like Shannon. It will be all the more essential now with Brexit. Shannon and the west of Ireland, and the Minister of State is from the west, are all the more peripheral geographically since the UK crashed out of the EU. We have the onslaught of Covid. It is a perfect storm and unless we have key connectivity into hubs guaranteed once international air travel gets under way again, we are kidding ourselves. I hope the Department will do everything it can in terms of route retention.
What has been well debated at our committee over the past 12 months is a real feeling that there is a need for a new policy for Irish aviation to rebalance what has become a very dominant position for Dublin Airport at the expense of others. Is the Department working on new proposals and has it looked at the joint chambers of commerce proposal in terms of divvying out that share of aviation more equally to the regions?