Written answers

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Aviation Industry

Photo of Michael LowryMichael Lowry (Tipperary, Independent)
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24. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of fifth freedom applications he has received from an airline (details supplied) in 2020, 2021 and to date in 2022; the routes for these applications; the applications he has approved; if he will address concerns raised by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15135/22]

Photo of Hildegarde NaughtonHildegarde Naughton (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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The Ireland - Ethiopia Bilateral Air Services Agreement, signed in 2014, allows for the grant of fifth freedom air traffic rights for airlines of both countries, subject to the approval of the respective aeronautical authorities.

International scheduled air services normally require approval in respect two scheduling periods for each year; in March for the summer season and in October for the winter season.

In respect of summer 2020 Ethiopian Airlines made applications to operate scheduled passenger air services on two routes:

- Addis Ababa – Geneva – Dublin

- Addis Ababa – Dublin – Toronto

No final decision was made on these routes, due to the impact of COVID-19 on commercial air transport operations.

For both winter 2020-2021 and summer 2021, the following fifth freedom routes applications were submitted and approved for cargo only services:

- Addis Ababa – Dublin – Washington DC

- Addis Ababa – Dublin – Chicago

- Addis Ababa – Dublin – Toronto

For both summer 2021 and winter 2021-2022 applications for a fifth freedom scheduled passenger air service were received to fly between Addis Ababa and Dublin, via Manchester. These applications were not approved as my Department had restricted the operation of fifth freedom scheduled passenger air services by third county air operators from March 2021 to late November 2021 due to the prevailing conditions at the time.

For summer 2022, my Department has again received an application by Ethiopian Airlines to fly between Addis Ababa and Dublin, via Manchester. My Department has recently concluded a process of stakeholder engagement and a decision on the application will be made shortly.

Ireland traditionally has applied a liberal aviation policy and remains positively disposed towards the development of competitive air services. Applications for fifth freedom air traffic rights are considered on a case-by-case basis taking into account all relevant considerations.


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