Dáil Éireann - Volume 589 - 07 October, 2004
Written Answers. - Air Cargo Services.
Mr. Howlin Mr. Howlin
20. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if his attention has been drawn to the concerns expressed by the Irish Exporters Association regarding the implications of the decision by Aer Lingus to end most of its cargo services; if his Department has done an assessment of the implications of the decision for firms exporting; if he intends to raise the matter with Aer Lingus or take other steps to ensure that air cargo services remain available to exporters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23639/04]
Mr. M. Ahern Mr. M. Ahern
Mr. M. Ahern: I am aware of the concerns expressed by the Irish Exporters Association about the decision by Aer Lingus to discontinue the majority of its short-haul cargo services. However, the Irish Exporters Association has not formally raised the issue with me or with my Department. The decision by Aer Lingus was a commercial and operational one and, therefore, was outside the scope of political intervention or interference. It was taken in the context of implementing its business development plan.
Both as a trading country and as an island, having reliable freight links is crucial. I understand  that other airlines operating here have the capacity to deal with the demand resulting from the decision by Aer Lingus.
However, with an eye to our longer-term economic development, the maintenance of adequate air cargo services is of considerable importance. In that context, I intend to ask the National Competitiveness Council for its views on this issue so as to ensure that any competitiveness implications can be addressed.
Dáil Éireann 589 Written Answers. Air Cargo Services.