Wednesday 18 October 2017

Legal bill soars for aviation regulator

Cathy Mannion, head of the Commission for Aviation Regulation, which sets maximum passenger charges at Dublin Airport
Cathy Mannion, head of the Commission for Aviation Regulation, which sets maximum passenger charges at Dublin Airport
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The legal bill at the Commission for Aviation Regulation soared last year to €300,000 as it unsuccessfully pursued two cases related to the attempted recovery of bond amounts for the benefit of its traveller protection fund.

The Commission, whose commissioner is Cathy Mannion, revealed the figure in its annual report for 2016, which was published yesterday.

The outlay compared to the €92,000 in legal fees the state agency paid in 2015.

"In October 2016, the High Court gave judgment in legal proceedings between the Commission and AIB, holding the bank did not have to pay out on a bond it guaranteed in circumstances where it had already paid out on a later bond for the same travel agent," the Commission noted in the report.

"Arising from that judgment, the Commission discontinued proceedings that it had commenced in similar circumstances against a UK insurance company," it added.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation has a number of functions, including setting the maximum passenger charges that can be levied at Dublin Airport.

It also licenses Ireland-based air carriers transporting passengers, mail or cargo for payment, and travel agents and tour operators selling overseas travel.

Other functions include administering a bonding scheme for travel agents and tour operators selling overseas travel.

In 2016, the Commission processed 5,199 queries and complaints from passengers - 7pc more than in 2015.

Of those, 81pc were for information or complaints outside its remit.

Irish Independent

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