Sunday 28 May 2017

Ireland needs to stay grounded as Europe is drawn into open-sky row

Competition has served Irish passengers well and we need to ensure the skies remain open, says Colm McCarthy

IT’S A LONG HAUL: Air France has petitioned the EU to grant restrictions against the Gulf operators at European airports. Aer Lingus is the only Irish haulier currently operating long-haul, and it has nothing to fear from continuing access by Gulf airlines to the European market.
IT’S A LONG HAUL: Air France has petitioned the EU to grant restrictions against the Gulf operators at European airports. Aer Lingus is the only Irish haulier currently operating long-haul, and it has nothing to fear from continuing access by Gulf airlines to the European market.
Colm McCarthy

Colm McCarthy

When contentious trade policy issues arise between the EU and rivals in other parts of the world, the interests of the various EU member states do not always coincide. The big countries, particularly France and Germany, can be quick off the mark in identifying where their advantage lies and are not shy about bending EU policy to their narrow national interest.

It looks as if the French and Germans are seeking to back away from the so-called Open Skies policy in long-haul aviation in order to protect their national carriers, and may find an ally in the United States.

A move back towards protectionism in the air-passenger business does not suit EU countries whose principal airlines are successful and competitive, a category which happily includes Ireland. The routine reaction of going along with an emerging European policy, on the basis that it has nothing to do with little Ireland, could be costly on this occasion.

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