- Airlines need significant post-Covid boost
- Cheap flights will be key
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Tourism and Aviation Cathal Crowe is calling on Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to renege on comments he has made about budget flights in a post-Covid world.
Speaking to The Irish Examiner, Minister Ryan has said that €10 flights will become a thing of the past as we continue the climate fight.
While supportive of climate measures, Deputy Crowe has reacted with dismay at these comments, at a time when the aviation sector is on its knees.
“It’s absurd that there would be any talk of ending discounted flights in the post-Covid era,” said Deputy Crowe.
“Aviation is at its lowest all-time ebb and right now those who work in the tourism and aviation sectors need to hear positive talk about how this sector will be stimulated and supported in the months ahead.
“Talk of reducing climate emissions and putting an end to discounted air fares has potential undertones of hefty carbon levies for the sector and it has left many feeling both concerned and frustrated.
“Flights in and out of Ireland for the past 12 months have, in the main, only been for essential travel and in bound shipments of PPE and medical equipment but everyone dreams of a normal return to international air travel, as the vaccination rollout ramps up.
“The European Commission is devising a new regulation titled the Digital Green Certificate which should make it far easier for passengers to travel internationally as the Covid situation improves but experts in the aviation sector continue to warn us that it could take four to five years for airlines to make a full recovery to 2019 levels.
“If this is the case, which I have no reason to doubt, then any plans to burden airlines and the wider aviation sector with additional environmental levies or charges should be put on hold.
“The opposite is needed at this time. The sector needs a financial adrenaline shot and a suite of policies at both national and European level that ensures planes are back in the skies and vital connectivity is restored.
“A below-par aviation recovery would impact Ireland most of all, due to our peripheral geographic location and our high dependency on inbound and outbound traffic to North America.
“As a TD for Clare, I am particularly concerned that it has been months since any commercial flight departed or landed at Shannon Airport.
“There has been a real sense of worry in this region for many months but yet there is now an emerging hope that we would get back to some normality shortly and the announcement last week that Ryanair were committing to a summer service from Shannon to Corfu has given cause for much hope.
“I hope that Minister Eamon Ryan will reconsider some of his comments relating to bargain air fares and also hope that he will, as our Transport Minister, champion for European-wide supports for the ailing aviation sector.”