Oireachtas Committee to hold series of meetings in response to aviation crisis

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THE Committee on Transport and Communications Networks has announced plans to hold a series of public hearings focused on addressing and finding solutions to the crisis that has hit the aviation industry.

The Committee held an emergency meeting of members this morning, called by the committee Chair, Kieran O’Donnell TD, following Ryanair’s announcement to close its Cork and Shannon Airports bases for the winter period as well as the on-going debate on the EU traffic light system for air travel.

The committee had also written to the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD and Government asking;

  • Government to adopt the European Commission’s traffic light system for common rules on travel and provide an update to the Committee on its timeframe for implementation.
  • In addition, the Joint Committee calls on the Government to provide details of its plans for and progress in implementing testing at Irish airports.

Committee Chair, Kieran O’Donnell TD said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the aviation sector which is worth billions of euro to the economy and supports upwards of 140,000 jobs. While Ryanair had threatened the closure of its Cork and Shannon bases, confirmation of the move today and the subsequent direct and no doubt indirect job losses is nonetheless shocking.

“The closure of the Ryanair bases threatens the viability of Cork and Shannon airports and will have a devastating impact on the local economy, with many families impacted by redundancies and unpaid leave. Cork and Shannon airports play a fundamental role in ensuring balanced regional growth and connectivity for the West and South.

“Ryanair is among the stakeholders the Committee has already heard from. The company along with Aer Lingus, DAA (Dublin Airport Authority), Cork Airport and the Shannon Group has outlined the profound impact the pandemic is having on the aviation industry.

“Whilst being conscious of public health issues around Covid-19, the Committee now intends to examine the issue in a dedicated structured series of public hearings with relevant stakeholders on addressing and finding solutions to the crisis that has hit the aviation industry so hard.

“The EU Commission’s traffic light system, which provides a framework for air travel across Europe, based on Covid-19 case rates and testing and tracing will be among the issues the Committee will explore in these planned series of public meetings”.

The Committee intends to invite amongst others, representatives of NPHET, HIQA, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, DAA, including Cork Airport and the Shannon Group to the meetings which will take place during the week commencing, Monday October 26th.

For more information about the work of the Committee on Transport and Communications

Networks, see the Committee webpage.