Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
I thank the Minister. I am delighted to hear that Shannon Airport and Cork Airport can continue to avail of supports under the regional airports programme. For too long they were excluded or found it difficult to come under it given the annual passenger thresholds. There will need to be multi-annual investment. The Minister mentioned public service obligation routes. We have to think in a different realm so far as they are involved. It cannot be all about small aircraft going out to the Aran Islands or aircraft going to Kerry to provide rural regional connectivity. As we come out of Covid, there will be merit to also having European hub connectivity on a public service obligation basis until we get to a point of recovery. We will get transatlantic routes back to Shannon in the spring. We are slowly improving the Heathrow service but we need connectivity to places such as Amsterdam, Charles de Gaulle or Frankfurt. They are where onward connectivity to the eastern markets is. Public service obligation also needs to be looked at through this lens as we come out of Covid.