Breen appointed Rapporteur as Council of Europe commissions report into the European Civil Aviation Industry.

June 29th, 2009 - Pat Breen

picture-with-president-mary-mcaleeseAt last weeks session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen was appointed Rapporteur as the Committee on Economic Affairs and Development of the Council of Europe commissioned a report in to the European Civil Aviation Industry. Following his appointment as Rapporteur for this very important report he was selected by the Committee to attend the 31st Plenary Session of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) which takes place in Strasbourg on the 7th-8th July next.

The Report is titled “The European civil aviation industry confronted with the global financial and economic crisis” and in compiling this Report over the next 12 months, Deputy Breen in conjunction with his Council of Europe colleagues will undertake an in depth analysis of the effects that the global financial and economic crisis is having on the European Civil Aviation Industry.

Following his appointment, Deputy Breen said that “I am really looking forward to this challenge and while the entire European Aviation Industry will be under the scope as we undertake this research over the next 12 months I will be paying particular attention to the challenges facing my own local Airport at Shannon. Over the next number of weeks I will be making contact with the various stakeholders in this Region and I will be arranging to sit down with them to listen to their concerns and to discuss the best options for Shannon Airport going forward. I would also welcome submissions from the general public and these submissions can be emailed to me at pat.breen@oireachtas.ie at any time.

“As part of my ongoing work and research into the European Civil Aviation Industry, I have been selected by the Council of Europe to attend the 31st Plenary Session of the European Civil Aviation Conference which takes place in Strasbourg on the 7th/8th July 2009 next. Attendance at this Conference is by invitation only and one of the topics for discussion at the Conference will include the ECAC’s industry partners and the European Commission’s vision for intra European Air transport in 2020. Of course, I will be availing of the opportunity at this Conference to highlight the potential for development at Shannon Airport, particularly now that the full US Pre Clearance facility is about to come on stream.”

“The entire future of the European Aviation Industry is uncertain. Demand for air travel has declined sharply in recent times and airlines throughout Europe who have already battled the storm of massive fuel price hikes, now have to face rising credit costs and we have seen one airline already fall victim with the collapse of the Lituanian national carrier flyLAL.”

“Many in the Aviation Industry felt that low-cost carriers would not be as vulnerable in the current crisis as it would have been expected that many travellers, including business travellers would be seeking cheaper options, however, that has not prevented the collapse of several such budget airlines including Sterling, LTE and Zoom.”

“The Irish Airline Industry is in similar turmoil. Both Aer Lingus and Ryanair recently announced significant reductions in their winter schedules for 2009 and unfortunately when Airlines make such decisions it is Airports like Shannon Airport which are left to bear the brunt of the cutbacks. That is why it is incredulous that at a time of global aviation turbulence that the Irish Government has introduced a €10 Air Travel Tax while the Belgian, Dutch, Greek and Spanish Governments have scrapped similar such proposals.”

“The Council of Europe recognises the challenges facing our entire aviation industry and the Parliamentary Assembly felt it was time to take stock of the present situation which is vital to the development and sustainability of the economies of the member States.”

“I am delighted to accept this challenge as Rapporteur for this report which as well as compiling an analysis of the problems currently being experienced by the Industry will also help to shape future EU policy in this area.”

ENDS.

PROFILE – PAT BREEN T.D. – MEMBER OF EPP GROUP – COUNCIL OF EUROPE

Deputy Pat Breen T.D. is Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs with special responsiblity for Human Rights. In January 2005, Pat Breen became one of four parliamentary national delegates from Ireland to the Council of Europe and following the 2007 General Election he was appointed by the party leader Enda Kenny to lead the Fine Gael delegation and is currently Deputy Leader of the Irish Delegation. He is a member of key Council committees, monitoring the obligations and commitments of member states, developing economic affairs and overseeing relations with non-member countries.