2016 was a positive year for the Irish Aviation Authority ("IAA") and for the aviation industry sector, as highlighted in the IAA's recently published Annual Report for 2016 (the "Report"). The IAA is rightly very pleased that Ireland was ranked second in Europe for civil aviation safety oversight, following an audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation ("ICAO") in 2016, a year when air traffic activity increased across all areas of the IAA's business.
The Report is a useful barometer of aviation activity in Ireland. The IAA's Chief Executive Officer, Eamonn Brennan, reported that currently, there are almost 1,300 aircraft on the Irish aircraft register and the aviation industry here is continuing to grow.
Key initiatives of the IAA, as highlighted in the Report, are set out below:
Air operator initiatives
Most of the main Irish Aircraft Operator Certificate ("AOC") holders are in expansionary mode and Norwegian Air International will begin transatlantic operations from Ireland in 2017 following their successful application for North Atlantic routes under the EU/US open skies agreement. The IAA has also received an application from SAS to establish an Irish AOC and this is being assessed.
Support for aircraft leasing sector
The IAA continues to support the leasing industry. A new Article 83 bis agreement was signed with Hungary in December 2016 facilitating the use of Irish registered aircraft by Hungarian air operators. This brings the total number of Article 83 bis agreements signed to twenty. The Aviation lessor community in Ireland continues to request agreements with both EU and non-EU countries. The IAA has indicated that it will initiate such agreements, where appropriate.
IAA representatives were part of the ICAO Article 83 bis task force which provided its final report to the ICAO Legal Committee in December...