View Full Version : Irish gov't under pressure as EU aims for open skies?

5th Dec 2001, 10:20
Today's Irish Indo carries the following story: (extract)

THE European Commission will relax its rules on airline mergers if member states agree to a direct EU/US transatlantic deal, it was revealed yesterday.

The new move, proposed by the Competition Commissioner, Mario Monti, could make Aer Lingus more attractive to investment from other European airlines, which have so far refused to get involved with the struggling flag-carrier.

However, in order to agree a transatlantic air deal, the Shannon stopover would have to be abolished.

At present, the 15 EU member states all hold individual bilateral agreements with the US, which, in Ireland's instance, imposes the compulsory stopover on 50pc of all Ireland-US flights.

If this is to come about, the only country standing in its way is Ireland, which still insists on the stopover; all others have voted for an EU:US bilateral. I believe the Irish gov't wanted to hold out until after the next election and drop it then (obviously believing the midwest electorate would be fooled by this). However, it now looks as if this is intended to be in place by next Summer.

The government has very few options if it chooses to resist. Aer Lingus may have a case against the government, for the European courts and although it has not been the airline's practice to stand up to the government, it would be a good way to assert its independence, if a sale of part of the airline is to be considered. CO and DL would possibly consider an ultimatum, given that a pullout by them could also result in EI losing LAX, something even MO'R would not be willing to accept.

Seems now, after all, they are on the back foot. The Irish gov't is no doubt lobbying fiercely against this, but hopefully the end of this nonsense is at hand . . .

5th Dec 2001, 13:32
Indeed ! What an oppertune time to be promoting Shannon as a "low cost low fares "
airport .Now who's doing that right now? (see Ryanair to save Shannon thread also).
Perhaps Aer Rianta have it right after all ! it would make a pleasant change!

The Guvnor
5th Dec 2001, 14:26
Sgt Culpepper - SNN can be the lowest cost airport in the world, but if passengers don't want to go there ... they won't! :rolleyes: :eek: :rolleyes:

5th Dec 2001, 15:04
Guvnor, not quite true.The same was said about Beauvais, Hahn,Prestwick,etc.Low fares have proven their attraction at some of the most unlikely destinations. Shannon/Hahn just celebrated 100,000 pax after 17 months of operation.And, with a new SNN/Paris service just around the corner who knows what the future holds for Shannon. One thing is certain though,Shannon had better look east rather than west as far as its future is concerned.

The Guvnor
5th Dec 2001, 15:20
Not really. PIK is a 40 minute train ride from the centre of Glasgow; and other airports like Skavsta, Hahn and Chateauroux all provide bus service to Stockholm, Frankfurt and Paris respectively.

SNN has a miniscule catchment area in population terms - Limerick, Galway, and ... er, that's it. There's no way you could use it as a viable low cost airport for Dublin - I've made the mistake of driving between the two! :D :D

Seriously, if the government wants to do anything with the place, rather convert it into an 'open skies' superhub where long haul carriers can fly in for free and feed to shorthaul. Otherwise try and copy PIK and go the cargo route.