Tánaiste and Minister Ross meet Irish Aviation sector to discuss the implications of Brexit
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD, and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, met today with the National Civil Aviation Development Forum (NCADF), a representative body for the Irish aviation sector which includes the heads of the major players in the aviation industry spanning airlines, airports and aircraft leasing interests.
The focus of the meeting was on the implications of Brexit for the Irish aviation sector.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, the Tánaiste said:
“As part of the Government’s ongoing stakeholder engagement on Brexit, Minister Ross and I had a very good exchange of views today with representatives of the Irish aviation sector. There was agreement that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will pose major challenges for Irish aviation, a sector that is crucially important to the Irish economy. As an island and with an economy that is highly globalised and relies on trade, air connectivity is very important for our prosperity. Our air connectivity is also crucial for our tourism industry. Aviation contributes more than €4.1 billion directly to Ireland’s GDP. We agreed that achieving an orderly UK withdrawal, with a status quo transitional arrangement leading to an ambitious future relationship agreement between the EU and the UK, including in aviation, is very much in Ireland’s interest, an interest that is shared both by the UK and the EU”.
Minister Ross added:
“Brexit is posing very complex challenges for Irish aviation and Ireland is uniquely affected compared to other EU Member States given our geographical location. The EU Single Market for aviation is a key driver behind the great success of Ireland’s aviation sector. The UK’s decision to leave the Single Market poses serious risks to Ireland’s air access and connectivity. The current extent of air traffic between the UK and Ireland is significant at approximately 12.8 million passengers or 39% of total passengers handled by Irish airports. The Dublin – London city-pair route is the busiest in Europe and the second busiest in the entire world. There was therefore agreement today that Ireland’s priority when it comes to the EU-UK negotiation on a future aviation agreement will be to protect a fully liberalised and deregulated market in order to ensure no erosion of our connectivity or disruption to airlines, airports, business, tourism and personal travel. With this in mind I can only welcome and echo what the President of the European Council Donald Tusk said yesterday when he described the risk of disruption to flights between the UK and the EU as a particularly absurd consequence of Brexit. I fully support his call for discussions on this issue to start as soon as possible to avoid any such risk.”
The Tánaiste and Minister Ross also underlined the importance of the sector preparing for Brexit, highlighting the Government’s own extensive contingency planning across all sectors and policy areas. The meeting concluded that there is great value is this type of engagement, agreeing that the Government and aviation stakeholders will continue working together on identifying and planning for the implications of Brexit, both at home and through the Brexit negotiations, working with our partners across the EU.