Chambers Ireland has today called on the Government to ensure the protection of Ireland’s Heathrow slots should they go ahead with the sale of their stake in Aer Lingus.
Speaking this afternoon, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland said “It is vital that if the Government should proceed to sell its shares in Aer Lingus, it obtains a guarantee that Ireland’s slots at London Heathrow are retained. Heathrow is a vital hub for Ireland, offering connectivity to key international markets across the globe. Given its strategic importance, we must maintain and secure access to Heathrow from all State Airports. The loss of these slots would have significant implications for foreign direct investment, regional economic growth, business tourism and tourism in general.”
“While we appreciate the Government’s desire to maximise the value of its shareholding, this cannot be done at the expense of Ireland’s long term economic interests and regional development objectives. We urge the Government to seek assurances that any potential deal includes the protection of these vital slots,” he concluded.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport Timmy Dooley TD added that any sale of Aer Lingus could threaten jobs at Dublin, Cork and Shannon as well as posing major connectivity issues for the country.
Calling for a “thorough and transparent” evaluation of the strategic importance of the State’s shareholding in Aer Lingus Deputy Dooley says he has petitioned the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport to prepare a report on the implications of any takeover of Aer Lingus by a competitor, and to engage with all of the stakeholders through public hearings.