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Written Answers. - Regional Airports.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 394. Mr. Sargent Information on Trevor Sargent Zoom on Trevor Sargent  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the cost to the Exchequer of each PSO payment per air passenger between regional airports and Dublin Airport and to and from overseas airports; the overall cost of these PSO payments in the course of the past three years; and the persons to whom these payments are made. [23655/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan Our current PSO regime comprises six routes which link the regional airports in Kerry, Galway, Sligo, Knock, Donegal and Derry with Dublin.

In respect of the first five of these routes, my Department conducted a public tender competition earlier this year, in accordance with the provisions of the relevant EU Council Regulation (2408/92), for air carriers to operate the routes. This tender process resulted in the award of two routes – Donegal-Dublin and Sligo-Dublin – to EuroCeltic Airways Limited and the other three routes – Kerry-Dublin, Galway-Dublin and Knock-Dublin – to Aer Arann Express. The contracts in respect of these five PSO routes run for three years from 22 July 2002. Our sixth PSO route, Derry-Dublin, is operated by Loganair Limited under a three year contract awarded in January 2001.

Having regard to the projections for passenger numbers and the Exchequer subvention levels contained in EuroCeltic's and Aer Arann's submissions in the public tender competition earlier this year, the anticipated average Exchequer subvention per passenger over the three years of the new contracts on each of the five PSO routes operated by these two carriers is as follows:

PSO Route Average ExchequerSubvention per passenger (one-way trip)
Donegal-Dublin €175
Sligo-Dublin €87
Knock-Dublin €280
Galway-Dublin €56
Kerry-Dublin €57

[291] On the Derry-Dublin PSO route which is operated by Loganair, the average Exchequer subvention for the first full year of operation was approximately €118 per passenger, per one-way trip.

The overall Exchequer cost of the PSO programme over the past three years, 1999-2001 inclusive, was approximately €23.55 million. In 1999 and 2000 there were four PSO routes, three of which were operated by Aer Lingus and one by Aer Arann Express. In 2001 there were six PSO routes, five of which were operated by Aer Arann Express and one by Loganair Limited. The amounts paid to these three carriers over the period in question were approximately €15.36 million to Aer Arann Express, €6.39 million to Aer Lingus and €1.8 million to Loganair.

These PSO air services provide very important links between the regional airports and the Dublin hub. Having regard, however, to the significant subvention per passenger, my Department will be undertaking over the coming months an Exchequer expenditure review of the PSO air services regime.

Questions Nos. 395 and 396 answered with Question No. 60.

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