Over the weekend a letter was presented to the Irish Government that argued for the need for a direct flight to become available between Dublin and San Francisco. The Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) delivered a letter to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar requesting the reinstatement of a route from Dublin to Silicon Valley.
Ireland no longer has a direct flight to Silicon Valley and this petition comes from concerns that this is hurting business for both US corporations doing business in Ireland and Irish companies doing business in Silicon Valley.
Here is an excerpt from that letter:
Dear Taoiseach and Minister Varadkar,
May 9, 2011
We, the undersigned mayors, CEOs and senior executives, are committed to bringing jobs and economic vitality to the Silicon Valley area and to Ireland in a continuing partnership. We believe it is critical that a direct flight between Dublin & Silicon Valley be reinstated to significantly strengthen Ireland’s “Smart Economy” future. The Irish Technology Leadership Group and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group have recently highlighted this and are encouraged to learn that such a consideration is being discussed in Dublin and in the councils of Aer Lingus.
Today, Silicon Valley companies employ thousands of workers throughout Ireland. We believe that a major obstacle is the absence of a link between Ireland and the West Coast. This area is well known throughout the world as the cradle of innovation and the leading incubator of new ideas and new possibilities for the world economy. The loss of the West Coast flight is discouraging particularly in this, the 25th year of the San Jose – Dublin Sister City Program, and possibly a major obstacle to business possibilities running in both directions.
The letter has been endorsed by 64 individuals, Mayors, CEOs and senior executives of multinational organisations based in the United States and Ireland.
A meeting took place yesterday, May 9th, between Aer Lingus CCO Stephen Kavanagh and a delegation that was led by Dublin Chamber of Commerce CEO Gina Quin and included senior executives from ITLG, Google, Cisco, Oracle, Facebook, Amazon and PayPal.
John Hartnett, President and Founder of the ITLG, said, “I understand that profitability of a single route is important for Aer Lingus, however this type of tactical decision could choke Ireland’s ambition to be the “smart economy” and badly damage the IDA’s job creation goals. The Irish Government are spending $10 Billion from 2007 to 2013 on innovation – this situation is penny wise and pound foolish. ”
The IDA has pointed to the fact that 50% of site visits to Ireland are from the US, the majority of those from the west coast and are largely leading-edge technology companies. For Ireland, the SFO route is a critical piece of infrastructure taking us to the next level of competitiveness and effectiveness.
There are a great many arguments why such a route would be beneficial. Amongst others:
- Silicon Valley is Ireland’s leading US investor and the San Francisco—Dublin air service would facilitate further investment in Ireland.
- Silicon Valley’s leading companies have key operations in Ireland. These include; Intel, Cisco, Apple, Google, Yahoo, PayPal, eBay, Adobe, LinkedIn, Oracle, Facebook, Oracle, Xilinx and Amazon. There is no doubt this route would ensure Ireland’s ‘Smart Economy’ future.
A letter was also delivered to Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller and the response from the airline has been that they found the meeting helpful and are considering the proposal.
You can participate in this campaign and keep track of developments by joining the Facebook group Direct flight – Ireland to Silicon Valley NON Stop!! which, at present, has roughly a thousand members.