Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross today (10 June 2020) announced a new expert taskforce, to examine and make recommendations to him on what needs to be done to get Irish aviation back up again and working as a driver of economic recovery.
Minister Ross said:
"It is not hyperbole to say that the current COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on our aviation industry. Currently the vast majority of flights have been suspended and airlines, airports, other key aviation firms and all of their employees are facing a very uncertain future.
"We all know that as an island nation we are hugely dependent on the air traffic that connects us to the rest of the world; to our friends, relatives and our many business partners, north, south, east and west of the globe.
"Our overseas business or social interests, our much valued tourism industry and our many global connections and commitments - all are dependent on a thriving aviation industry.
"If we can’t fly, economically, we die.
"It is for that reason that I have established a taskforce of leaders to spearhead the rehabilitation of the aviation industry in a dynamic, swift and sustainable manner. They will be chaired by Chris Horn, Venture Partner at Atlantic Bridge, and have consented to give their considerable expertise voluntarily for the greater good of the industry, and indeed, the country.”
The Aviation Taskforce is charged with advising on a framework for promoting the return of aviation connectivity and aviation enterprises that are critical to supporting the wider economic recovery. The focus is on the immediate action required and further measures with a five year outlook. It will prepare an Aviation Recovery Action Plan setting out recommendations for consideration by Government as appropriate. The Action Plan should be concluded and submitted by 10 July.
Minister Ross added:
“It is critical that Government, industry move together on a recovery plan for Irish aviation, balancing public health concerns and government policy on travel to develop a clear pathway to recovery for the industry, for their customers, their staff and for the general public. I would like to take this opportunity to wish the taskforce all the best in the coming challenging weeks and I thank them in advance for their service.”
Notes to the Editor:
The Taskforce is requested to prepare an Aviation Recovery Action Plan setting out recommendations for consideration by Ministers and Government as appropriate.
In developing the Plan, the Taskforce will:
have regard to the particular dependence of Ireland on air connectivity to support the various business, foreign direct investment, tourism and social linkages that underpin the economy and society
consider measures to counter the challenges arising from the COVID-19 crisis that will impact on the aviation market due to (1) the negative demand consequences arising from reduced consumer confidence, changed behaviours for business meetings and the general economic slowdown/recession and (2) the negative supply consequences due to increased costs of service provision arising from public health requirements to stem the spread of the virus
consider the priorities for connectivity for business and tourism while acknowledging that the relaxation of restrictions on air travel is likely to occur on a phased basis determined in accordance with public health advice and by reference to the criteria outlined by the European Commission as a basis for an aligned European approach
appreciate that strategic interests, competitiveness, preservation of employment, sustainability considerations and regional balance are all important factors that must be balanced
have regard for the possible need for sustained application of the measures contained in the proposed Code of Practice for the management of airline passengers in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic being developed on the basis of the EASA/ECDC Guidelines
recommend policy initiatives to support recovery acknowledging that any support through exchequer resources would have to be a last resort clearly grounded in a business case to support Ireland’s strategic interests
identify any international initiatives at EU or global level that might support the recovery
Chris Horn, Chairman, Venture Partner at Atlantic Bridge
Dalton Philips, CEO, DAA
Mary Considine, CEO, Shannon Group
Joe Gilmore, Managing Director, IWAK
David O’Brien, Commercial Director, Ryanair
Sean Doyle, CEO, Aer Lingus
Aengus Kelly, CEO, AerCap
David Swan, Chairman, Aircraft Leasing Ireland
Cathy Mannion, Commissioner, Commission for Aviation Regulation
Conor McCarthy, CEO,Dublin Aerospace
Niall Gibbons, CEO, Tourism Ireland
Patricia King, General secretary, ICTU
Padraig O’Ceidigh, Entrepreneur and former Senator