Airline is 'strategically important'
Aer Lingus is of “strategic importance” to the growth of the export industry, the head of the Irish Exports Association said today.
The airline’s cargo facility ships a significant proportion of the country’s trade in goods between Ireland the US, accounting for about half of the value of exports, and 43 per cent of imports.
John Whelan said the Government had not given enough consideration to how vital the airline cargo facility was to high tech and life sciences exporters. It warned that Ryanair could possibly drop the air cargo facility if its takeover of the airline was successful, as the airline did not carry air cargo on its current network.
“At risk is the €18 billion of pharmaceutical and medical technology that is exported by airfreight to the US and €4.5 billion of high-tech imports required for a wide range of manufacturing companies in Ireland.
“The daily airfreight connection to the US has been at the heart of Irish export growth for several decades. Let us not forget this is our largest export market as well as our main source of foreign direct investment,” he said. “The daily airfreight link is a strategic trade corridor for Ireland and must be treated as such.”
The IEA said the Competition Authority should look at the potential lack of competition on many routes in and out of Ireland