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Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar)

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Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar)

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Snippet Contents:

I propose to take Questions Nos. 95 and 143 together.
These questions are in relation to the development of a new aviation policy. The aviation industry is a key enabler of economic growth so it is important that there is a clear policy framework in place to facilitate its continued development and to optimise the contribution the sector can make to the Irish economy. Following on from the successful conference hosted by the IAA in December last an Aviation Policy Issues Paper was published on my Department's website in February 2013.  The paper poses a number of questions and covers eight broad areas: Airports; Air Services; Regulation and Governance; Aircraft Leasing and Finance; Aerospace, Education and Training; General Aviation; and Sustainability.
A total of 74 submissions were received in response to the consultation, from a wide range of stakeholders. The number and quality of the submissions received is very encouraging and demonstrates the strong interest there is in shaping future aviation policy. The submissions are currently being reviewed and the intention is that a draft National Aviation Policy Statement will be issued before the end of the year. This will provide a further opportunity for stakeholder input before the adoption of the new policy document in early 2014.
Cork airport is an important part of Ireland's civil aviation infrastructure and this will be taken account of as part of the review process. 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. Cork Airport provides a quality service of value to the region and the country. It recently achieved the highest customer satisfaction in a survey conducted across 61 regional airports worldwide by the Airport Council International. This is a fantastic achievement by Cork Airport and both the management team and the staff deserve credit on their world-beating performance in this survey. The Airport has introduced a number of initiatives in recent months to enhance the passenger experience and I look forward to growth in airport traffic in the period ahead.