I was always concerned as to why the -300 is another -301, not a -303X or even a -302. As long as they equip it with PTVs and it can do ORD
, fine; otherwise, shareholders will have something to say about it.
As for new routes, unfortunately, the Open Skies thing is a bit of a problem. The EU has discretion to allow the Irish govt to proceed with this and I would guess (and hope) that the Minister for Transport is currently trying to persuade the EU to do so. To permit Ireland to do so would be reasonable, in that the Irish position fits in within the parameters laid down by the EU, i.e.
- That the agreement with the US contains clauses required by the EU (since the deal was negotiated under EU supervision, this will be the case), and
- That allowing the deal to go ahead would not undermine the ongoing EU negotiations with the US; (since the Irish have no interest in US airline o'ship or mgmt, which is the major sticking point, then letting the Irish mini-deal go ahead can have no impact on the negotiations.
Furthermore, since EI
won't be able to use its new rights until next Summer and since the EU has said it's confident that O/S will be in place by year end, what do they lose in allowing the Irish to go ahead.
doesn't get the right to expand (and it needs - or specifically, potential investors need - to know by September, before privatisation), it will be in a very serious situation, since it is under increasing pressure from FR
on short haul routes.
The Irish govt needs to let the EU know that if it acts unreasonably or unfairly against Ireland, there will be consequences; to refuse to agree would amount to the imposition of a competitive disadvantage (since most other EU countries effectively have O/S already and thus the delay doesn't bother them that much) and no EU agency should be allowed to do this.
Let's hope the govt gets this right; there needs to be Open Skies; we've waited long enough. When negotiating power was surrendered to the EU on foot of the 2003 ECJ ruling, it was assumed that the EU would act in good faith; never was it anticipated that we would be hung up on something which was totally irrelevant to it and this should not have been allowed to happen.