European Commission: "We did not block Belfast-New York air link"

Enigma Variations

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EC: We did not block state-funded deal to rescue Belfast-New York air link - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

European officials have denied making a ruling that scuppered a state-funded deal to rescue Northern Ireland's only air link with the US.
Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster had accused "Brussels bureaucracy" of thwarting the Executive's £9 million support package for United Airlines to maintain its Belfast to Newark service.

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Her Democratic Unionist colleague and economy minister Simon Hamilton levelled similar criticism against the European Commission, claiming its rules on state aid torpedoed the deal.
A spokeswoman for the commission said: "To be clear, the European Commission received a complaint alleging that the measure was in breach of EU rules, which it looked into, but we did not take any decision on the matter.
"The Northern Irish authorities and United Airlines have themselves decided to end their arrangement."
Contrast that with this statement by Arlene Foster:
The first minister said: "I think it was worth doing, I think it was the right thing to do at the time, but unfortunately the EU did not agree with us.
Arlene Foster attacks EU red tape over loss of Belfast to New York air route - The Irish News

Someone is not telling the truth here. But if the Commission hadn't reached a decision as they maintain, then what the hell is going on and why are the EU being blamed for a decision they didn't take?
 


Strawberry

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For the same reason the Irish government was falsely blamed for poaching investment from the North. The DUP aren't up to their job, so they tell lies to their electorate about whose fault the state of the economy is.
 

runwiththewind

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It's just the DUP getting the blame in first. Expect a lot more of it in the future. SF and the opposition parties need to up their game here and point out the lies as and when they happen.

The DUP backed Brexit and find themselves in a position of opposing the majority view of the population that they were elected to represent.

Their stance is untenable.
 

dazzler

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A direct rail link from Belfast to Dublin airport is what is needed. Put the £9m towards that.
 

death or glory

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A direct rail link from Belfast to Dublin airport is what is needed. Put the £9m towards that.
At least that would keep the Republicans in Lurgan busy!
 

theloner

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Arlene Foster is fast becoming an embarrassing clown. theloner naively thought she'd be a break from the odd, ample-bellied, religious right-wingnuts that usually lead political unionism.
 

hollandia

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Meh, I'm watching the American elections right now. Arlene is ahead of the game here. We now live in a post fact world doncha know...
 

General Urko

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DUP = Redkneck Fooking Bufoons!
 

belfast1981

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United have been wanting out of this route for a long time.

The aircraft they use is an old 757 which is forever causing issues. 2 major issues lately on it.

Good aircraft in its day, but for a long transatlantic flight? It is like sitting in a Ryanair 737 before they upgraded to the 737-8. Not suitable for transatlantic. Especially since it is not a wide body aircraft and only has 2 rows of 3.

NI or no one else should have to foot the bill to a private airline to keep the route, especially since it is low profit.

Dublin is the hub for Ireland to America for those in NI and ROI. Aside from the UA route to NYC the only other US route is 6 weeks a year on one day per week from Belfast Int to Florida. (On a great 747 though :D)

Dublin is a transatlantic hub as I said, and until DUP/SF cut APD then Belfast will forever lose out to Dublin, and even Shannon due to clearing US customs on Irish soil. Especially with Aer Lingus using the A330 which is a wide body (more seats) on most of their US routes (as well as a few 767s (wide body) and somehow some 757s still.

But yeah, DUP are really trying and failing to save face here.
 
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cricket

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How come there hasn't been a peep out of any of the other parties on what seems to have been an economisation of the truth ?
 

devonish

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United have been wanting out of this route for a long time.

The aircraft they use is an old 757 which is forever causing issues. 2 major issues lately on it.

Good aircraft in its day, but for a long transatlantic flight? It is like sitting in a Ryanair 737 before they upgraded to the 737-8. Not suitable for transatlantic. Especially since it is not a wide body aircraft and only has 2 rows of 3.

NI or no one else should have to foot the bill to a private airline to keep the route, especially since it is low profit.

Dublin is the hub for Ireland to America for those in NI and ROI. Aside from the UA route to NYC the only other US route is 6 weeks a year on one day per week from Belfast Int to Florida. (On a great 747 though :D)

Dublin is a transatlantic hub as I said, and until DUP/SF cut APD then Belfast will forever lose out to Dublin, and even Shannon due to clearing US customs on Irish soil. Especially with Aer Lingus using the A330 which is a wide body (more seats) on most of their US routes (as well as a few 767s (wide body) and somehow some 757s still.

But yeah, DUP are really trying and failing to save face here.
I know bugger all about planes but when a commercial airline pulls out it's usually because the route is uneconomical to maintain. With Dublin airport within 2 hours drive for a large proportion of NI, having one flight from Belfast to the USA was never going to make sense. The DUP are trying to buck the market in trying to keep the US route open and personally I wouldn't disagree with the EU if they had blocked the financial support.
 

Glaucon

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I know bugger all about planes but when a commercial airline pulls out it's usually because the route is uneconomical to maintain. With Dublin airport within 2 hours drive for a large proportion of NI, having one flight from Belfast to the USA was never going to make sense. The DUP are trying to buck the market in trying to keep the US route open and personally I wouldn't disagree with the EU if they had blocked the financial support.
A fast train link from Belfast to Dublin Airport and onward to Dublin City would make a lot of economic sense. As you've said, airlines are in the business of making money, if the demand isn't there, they'll go - whatever the subsidies on offer.
 

hollandia

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A fast train link from Belfast to Dublin Airport and onward to Dublin City would make a lot of economic sense. As you've said, airlines are in the business of making money, if the demand isn't there, they'll go - whatever the subsidies on offer.
The Dublin Govt hasn't got its act together in this regards. Of course Stormont hasn't helped either by not putting a stop at the international airport (where there are mothballed railtracks bounding the perimeter fence), or at the George Best Airport either, where they moved the terminal, but not the railway halt.

Lack of joined up thinking.
 

Irish-Rationalist

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Exhilarating.
 

CastleRay

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How come there hasn't been a peep out of any of the other parties on what seems to have been an economisation of the truth ?
Because Sinn Fein is implicated in the original decision and along with the other parties they are all shíte. Bascially Stormont has and will elect the biggest Unionist party and the biggest Nationalist party. It doesn't matter what they do because the electorate don't care and they'll keep voting the same way.
 

Enigma Variations

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How come there hasn't been a peep out of any of the other parties on what seems to have been an economisation of the truth ?
It remains to be seen. You have to wonder where the SDLP and UUP are. NI is of course the sleepiest backwater on the planet and of course, almost uniquely it is a place where politics is a career for third raters.
 

death or glory

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It remains to be seen. You have to wonder where the SDLP and UUP are. NI is of course the sleepiest backwater on the planet and of course, almost uniquely it is a place where politics is a career for third raters.
Enema,
it would help if you weren't so arrogant and even decided to read your own links from your own OP

Ulster Unionist Assembly member Steve Aiken said the Executive needed to provide clarity "as a matter of urgency" on who decided the funding was inadmissible under EU rules.

"This is absolute dynamite," he said.

"It now appears that the vital direct link to North America was pulled without a formal ruling being received from Brussels. Indeed, if a formal ruling had been received, we could probably have found ourselves in a much better position to marshal opposition to the unnamed complainant and maintain this vital strategic air link."
 

Enigma Variations

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Enema,
it would help if you weren't so arrogant and even decided to read your own links from your own OP
I did read that DOG, but who is he and where has the story gone today? There isn't a peep anywhere. That is the point here. Where is Media Mike? This is not an issue for lightweight nobodies sitting at the back of the UUP bus.:)
 

GDPR

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The EU Commission are liars but so are the DUPed. Probably the latter are lying in this case but who knows?
 


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