Parliamentary Question for the Minister For Transport (Leo Varadkar TD)
For WRITTEN ANSWER on 26th of June 2014
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the national aviation policy will be published; if the policy will contain measures to redress the decline in passenger numbers at Cork Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Following on from the public consultation process over the last year a draft National Aviation Policy for Ireland was published on 21 May 2014 and is available on my Department’s website. The consultation process covered all elements of aviation policy and the draft National Aviation Policy takes account of the submissions received. Stakeholders now have an opportunity to provide further input before the policy is formally adopted and published. The closing date for submissions is 31 July. The new policy will be designed to ensure that the right conditions exist for a flourishing aviation industry into the future. It will facilitate the expansion of the industry, help make it more competitive, tackle barriers to growth and facilitate the development of new air transport links. I expect to publish the National Aviation Policy later in the year.
Cork airport is an important part of Ireland’s civil aviation infrastructure and this was highlighted during the consultation process. It is Ireland’s second busiest airport after Dublin. The Government has already decided that the future of Cork airport is best safeguarded by it remaining for the present as part of the DAA. I am conscious of the importance of Cork Airport in the development of the economy of the region as a whole and, in particular, for tourism. DAA has established a Development Council for Cork airport which will provide for strong engagement with, and alignment among, key stakeholders in the Cork region. It will serve to foster a common understanding, particularly at local level, of issues of concern, potential opportunities for growth and the operating performance of the airport. I hope the Council will be successful in its work, as a vibrant Cork Airport will ultimately benefit both Cork and the wider region.