Sunday 16 December 2018

Major review for aviation watchdog as Brexit looms

The Irish Aviation Authority employs 670 people. Stock image
The Irish Aviation Authority employs 670 people. Stock image
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), the semi-state agency that manages Irish airspace and air safety, is subjecting itself to a major review to ensure it's positioned to meet what it says are a number of challenges it faces - including the impact of Brexit.

The authority, which employs 670 people and whose chief executive designate is Peter Kearney, has commissioned the review as the government plans to separate regulatory and commercial functions on the IAA into two separate entities.

The IAA also suffered a blow this year after plans to make it the competent authority for overseeing aircraft noise regulations at Dublin Airport were shelved, with the function now passing to Fingal County Council.

The IAA said that it's facing four main challenges in coming years.

They include the economic impact of new performance requirements in relation to the EU's Single European Sky.

The performance regulation sets out the scheme for establishing and implementing binding targets for EU member states in areas such as air safety, the environment, airspace capacity and cost efficiency.

The IAA has warned that the new requirements, which come into force in 2020, could place "straining targets" on the IAA as Air Navigation Service Provider, or restrict its ability to grow its cost base in line with traffic and economic pressures.

The IAA added that the planned separation of IAA functions also creates uncertainty.

"Government policy is to separate the regulatory and commercial functions of the IAA into two separate entities, with the regulatory functions being merged with the Commission for Aviation Regulation to create a single, independent aviation regulator," the IAA noted in tender documentation seeking consultants to undertake the review.

It added that "this plan impacts on all aspects of the IAA's business".

The aviation body also said that Brexit poses "challenges to economic growth, air traffic connectivity and regulatory alignment" with the UK.

It said the departure of the UK from the EU will have an impact on the aviation sector in general and directly on the IAA.

Irish Independent

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