ALI and Taskforce for Aviation Recovery

July 10, 2020

The Taskforce for Aviation Recovery has made its Final Report to the Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, Mr Eamon Ryan, T.D. and to the Minister of State with responsibility for International and Road Transport and Logistics, Ms Hildegarde Naughton, T.D.

The Taskforce, which was chaired by Dr Chris Horn, has made 12 recommendations aimed at ensuring that air travel is reopened in a safe manner and that Ireland’s global connectivity can be recovered over the next number of years as part of the overall recovery of the Irish economy. The recommendations in the Report are presented as being focused on three key objectives:

1. Protecting Public Health and Rebuilding Consumer Confidence
2. Rebuilding Regional and International Connectivity
3. Saving Jobs and Supporting Irish Business

On receiving the Final Report, the Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, Mr Eamon Ryan, T.D said: “I wish to thank Chris Horn and the Taskforce Members for the Final Report, which clearly sets out the contribution that aviation makes to the Irish economy and the scale of the financial and operational challenges the sector, is facing as a result of Covid-19. As the report acknowledges, there are difficult choices to be made, balancing public health with economic concerns. Aviation provides a large number of high value jobs, and it generates many more in the wider economy, and especially in the tourism sector. Protecting these jobs and people’s livelihoods is a priority for the Government. The Government is finalising plans to aid economic recovery, and the recommendations contained in this Report will contribute to our overall response to the aviation crisis.”

The Minister of State with responsibility for International and Road Transport and Logistics, Ms Hildegarde Naughton, T.D. said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on our society and our economy, and the aviation sector has been badly affected. This Report is very timely and will assist the Government in finalising its approach to stimulating economic recovery and ensuring Ireland’s connectivity into the future. The recommendations are informed and measured, and I wish to thank the taskforce members for giving up their time and their expertise. Ireland is a global leader in aviation, and the Government is determined to ensure that it remains in that position. This report will assist us in that.”

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On 10 June, the Department of Transport announced the establishment of a Taskforce for Aviation Recovery. The taskforce will develop a set of recommendations for government on how to promote the aviation industry’s return to service as a key driver of economic recovery. 
We are delighted that the Chair of ALI has been invited to participate in the Taskforce. Its focus in the near-term is to furnish government with an Aviation Recovery Action Plan no later than 10 July. Over the coming weeks, ALI members are invited to offer their input to this work. Please get in touch with the ALI Secretariat at any stage if you have suggestions. 

The full membership of the Taskforce and its remit are set out below and  on the D/Transport website.  

Minister Ross announces new Taskforce for Aviation Recovery 
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross today (10/06/2020) announced a new expert taskforce, to examine and make recommendations to him on what needs to be done 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 July 10th.  
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 for editors: 
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; and   
  • 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 

Cathal Guiomard Lecturer, Aviation Management, DCU 

Fintan Towey, Assistant Secretary Assistant Secretary, DTTaS