Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar stated he met with the Indian Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi on 16-Mar-2011 to discuss potential plans for Air India to make Dublin Airport its new hub, after the carrier pulled out of Frankfurt last year (Economic Times/Hindu Business Line/Business Standard/PTI/Rediff, 18-Mar-2011). The talks between the Indian and Irish governments are at an advanced stage, Mr Varadkar said. Air India had initially shortlisted seven European airports as a potential new new hub in order to reduce costs and facilitate improved movement of traffic to the US and other parts of Europe. The shortlist has since been reduced to two airports, according to Mr Varadkar. Air India is expected to visit the airport in the next “six to eights weeks” to make a decision on the matter. Mr Varadkar also stated talks were “progressing reasonably well” on a bilateral Air Services Agreement (ASA) between the two nations, which could be finalised and signed “very soon”. Fifth freedom rights are on the agenda as part of this. Besides Air India, the Irish authorities are also holding talks with private Indian carriers to have Dublin as their international hub, Mr Varadkar said.
Irish Government: "In many ways the Indian government has shown interest in our airport and seems to be ready to go with it. Dublin is one of the final two airports that Air India has zeroed in on and will shortly take a call on it ... Dublin is one of the lowest cost airports in Europe. It also enjoys the advantage of offering passengers travelling to the US the chance of completing US immigration facilities in Dublin itself," Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. Source: Economic Times, 18-Mar-2011.