Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism, and Sport Marc Mac Sharry TD says the timeline for designing a pathway out of lockdown for the aviation sector must be brought forward.

Deputy Mac Sharry said, “There is a proposed taskforce to provide guidance on the reopening of the aviation sector in the making. Members of this taskforce will be appointed later this week and they will report back in four or five weeks. The aviation sector does not have four or five weeks to wait. This is an enormously difficult time in the industry. We have seen temporary lay-offs, the closure of Ireland West Airport Knock and the issues in Ryanair, Aer Lingus and smaller airlines like Stobart Air and CityJet.

“We need a pan European approach to aviation. This is vital for our economy. The Minister will be aware of the advice from the European Aviation Safety Agency and the European Centre for Disease Control which has led to the announcement by Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland and others of specific dates to reopen.

“None of us want to jeopardise the hard-won progress in tackling the transmission of coronavirus through the incredible sacrifice of all in Irish society. However, the plans proposed by Minister Ross show ineptitude and ambivalence to the debt of our economic crisis, the enormous challenges the aviation sector faces, and the difficulties within the tourism and hospitality industry.

“It is imperative we seek an agreed pan European approach to the reopening of our aviation industry. Minister Ross needs to expedite the proposed taskforce and provide a pathway for stakeholders in the aviation sector in a matter of days, not weeks,” concluded Deputy Mac Sharry.