Delta decision on Atlanta exposes the folly of introducing an Air Travel Tax – Breen

November 27th, 2008 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen said today (Wednesday) that the decision by Delta Airlines not to serve Atlanta from Shannon next summer while regrettable, exposes the folly of introducing an Air Travel Tax at this stage.

Deputy Breen said that this service is the latest victim of ‘Open Skies’ and this decision highlights the urgency of having the extension to the US Customs and Border Protection in place by July 1st as well as the need for the Government to undertake a review of the Tourism and Economic Plan for the region to take account of declining competitiveness.

“I regret that Delta Airlines have taken this decision. It reduces the Gateway options for passengers travelling to Ireland from the United States apart from the fact that this service was very successful from the airport. However, I welcome the fact that they are to continue with their all yearly service to New York.

“As airlines worldwide consolidate and merge, the reality is that, following the agreement on ‘Open Skies’, airlines will choose to fly into the capital cities. I have consistently warned that this would occur in an ‘Open Skies’ scenario.

“Of course it also exposes the folly of introducing an Air Travel Tax at a time when the aviation and tourism industries in this region are in free fall. The Belgian Government has already cancelled their plans to introduce a departure tax and Ryanair has warned that 60% of their services to and from Shannon next winter will be axed.

“The Government must act to address this region’s declining competitiveness. The extension to the US Customs and Border Protection facility must in place by the 1st July and a review of the Tourism and Economic Plan for this region must be undertaken as a priority to allow for this changing environment and to provide the necessary supports to the aviation and tourism industries.”

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