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Written Answers. - National Airspace.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 84. Mr. Stagg Information on Emmet Stagg Zoom on Emmet Stagg  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the number of commercial or private flights and military flights that passed through Irish airspace during 2001 and 2002 to date; the total revenue raised by the Irish Aviation Authority in respect of fees charged to private or commercial flights; the reason no fees are charged in respect of military aircraft; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23464/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan The Irish Aviation Authority provides air traffic control and communications services to aircraft [167] which pass through Irish controlled airspace –en route –and aircraft landing and taking off from Irish airports – terminal. The Irish Aviation Authority controls some 100,000 sq. m., of international airspace in addition to domestic airspace.

According to the Irish Aviation Authority, a total of 465,204 en route civil and 6,895 en route military aircraft flights flew through total Irish-controlled airspace in 2001. The figures for 2002 to end September were 339,707 civil flights and 6,881 military flights. A much smaller proportion of military en route flights fly through domestic airspace with the permission of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, while a smaller proportion again land at Irish airports. The total revenue raised by the IAA in respect of en route, terminal and communications charges to civil flights in total Irish-controlled airspace was €77.3 million in 2001 and €60.9 million to end-September 2002.

Under a Eurocontrol – European organisation for the safety of air navigation – multilateral agreement to which Ireland is a party, various categories of flights – flights under visual flight rules, flights performed by small aircraft, flights performed for the transport of Heads of State and search and rescue flights – are exempt from paying en route charges. In the case of other categories – military flights, training flights, flights performed to test air navigation equipment and circular flights – states have the option to exempt such flights from payment of the en route charge. In common with most Eurocontrol member states, Ireland exempts all such flights, including military, from payment of the en route charge. As a result of this arrangement, the IAA costs for military flights are met from my Department's Vote.

Ireland also exempts military aircraft flights from payment of the communications charge and the IAA costs for those charges are also met from my Department's Vote. Efforts to collect this charge in the early 1990s were unsuccessful and, following advice from the Attorney General, debts then outstanding were written off with the agreement of the Department of Finance and a decision taken to cease charging the communications fee to military aircraft.

Regarding the terminal charge for air traffic control services for military aircraft, this is a matter for the Irish Aviation Authority.

Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 58.

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