FOR decades, Aer Lingus more or less controlled air access to and from this island. A seat on a plane flying to London was prohibitively expensive.
A seat on one going further afield was beyond the reach of most people. Air travel was indeed exclusive, almost exotic. This had many consequences for business and individuals. Ending that semi-State monopoly, and the game-changing arrival of low-cost airlines, has had a far more positive impact on this society than is generally appreciated.
Another step in that process is expected this week. The Government is scheduled to introduce measures that will help airlines, and, in turn, consumers, but weaken the hand of the Dublin Airport Authority, the entity that controls Dublin and Cork airports. It is proposed that the aviation regulator will no longer have to consider the impact on DAA when setting charges. The objective is to attract more visitors — and airlines — to Ireland, but it may be wise to adopt a wait-and-see position. The trickle-down effect may, once again, be difficult to identify, unless legislation insists otherwise.
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