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Varadkar launches paper on aviation

Wednesday, May 21 17:36:39

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has published a draft National Aviation Policy and launched a consultation process on the document, which aims to develop new routes and services including "fifth freedom" rights.

Fifth freedom means that non-European and non-US airlines would have the right to land in Ireland and to then pick up passengers and fly on to a third country, potentially opening up big business from Arabian Gulf and Asian airlines.

The draft policy aims to support the growth of Ireland's aviation sector which is worth E4.1 billion annually to Irish GDP. It supports 26,000 direct jobs and 16,000 in the supply chain. At least 26 new routes into Ireland were confirmed over the last 12 months, and the draft policy aims to continue developing the sector over the next 20 year period.

"One of my priorities as Minister for Transport is to ensure that the aviation sector achieves its potential, for the benefit of the aviation industry and for the wider economy. That's why I am developing the first aviation framework policy in more than two decades," Minister Varadkar said.

"Aviation is about much more than just airports and airlines. It's also about aviation finance, repairs, maintenance, education, and a lot more besides. The Government's role is to ensure that the right conditions exist for a flourishing industry. We want to remove any remaining barriers to growth and competition. We want to facilitate the further expansion of the aviation industry, make it more competitive, stimulate growth at all our airports and develop new airline links into Ireland. We will also address environmental issues."

"This draft policy paper published today provides stakeholders with an opportunity to contribute before the finished policy is published later this year. That final policy paper will provide certainty to the industry and to investors about the Government's own aviation policies for the next 20 years."