International Comparative Legal Guide To Aviation Law 2016, 4th Edition

Author:Ms Donna Ager, Mary Dunne and Brian Clarke
Profession:Maples and Calder
 
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1 GENERAL

1.1 Please list and briefly describe the principal legislation and regulatory bodies which apply to and/or regulate aviation in your country.

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport ("DOTTS"), is the government department responsible for aviation policy in Ireland. It has established the following entities to assist it in carrying out its functions:

the Commission for Aviation Regulation ("CAR"); the Irish Aviation Authority ("IAA"); the Air Accident Investigation Unit ("AAIU"), which is responsible for air accidents that take place in Ireland and air accidents that occur outside Ireland involving Irish-registered aircraft; and the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"), which is responsible for implementation of the EU emissions trading scheme. CAR

The key functions performed by the CAR are:

regulation of airport charges; licensing of air carriers; regulation of tour operators and travel agents; approval of ground handlers; overseeing slot allocation; and overseeing the application of EU Air Passenger Rights and Reduced Mobility. IAA

The key functions performed by the IAA are:

provision of air traffic management and related services in Irish-controlled airspace and on the North Atlantic; the safety regulation of the civil aviation industry in Ireland; the oversight of civil aviation security in Ireland; and the registration of aircraft in Ireland. The principal aviation legislation applicable in Ireland is as follows:

the Air Navigation Transport Act 1936; the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act 1995; the Air Navigation and Transport (Amendment) Act 1998; the Aviation Regulation Act 2001; the State Transport Act 2004; the International Interests in Mobile Equipment (Cape Town Convention) Act 2005; the Aviation Act 2006; the State Airports (Shannon Group) Act 2014; EC (Access to the Ground Handling Market at Community Airports) Regulations 1998 (S.I.505/1998); EC (Common Rules for the Operation of Air Services in the Community) Regulations (S.I.426/2008); EC (Rights of Disabled Persons and Persons with Reduced Mobility when Travelling by Air) Regulations 2008 (S.I.299/2008); Regulation EC/95/93 on common rules for the allocation of slots at community airports; Regulation EC/261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights; Regulation EC/1107/2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air; and Regulation EC/1008/2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the community. 1.2 What are the steps which air carriers need to take in order to obtain an operating licence?

An applicant must apply to the CAR for an operating licence ("ACOL") in Ireland. It must satisfy all of the conditions for granting an operating licence set out in Article 4 of Principal Regulation EC/1008/2008.

ACOLs are divided into two categories related to capacity and maximum take-off weight, being category A and category B licences.

Category A licence-holders are permitted to carry passengers, cargo and/or mail on aircraft with 20 seats or more. Category B licence-holders are permitted to take passengers, cargo and/or mail on aircraft with fewer than 20 seats and/or less than 10 tonnes of maximum take-off weight.

1.3 What are the principal pieces of legislation in your country which govern air safety, and who administers air safety?

The IAA is responsible for administrating Ireland's international aviation safety obligations and agreements in accordance with standards set by European joint aviation authorities, the International Civil Aviation Organisation ("ICAO"), Eurocontrol, the European Civil Aviation Conference, the European Aviation Safety Agency ("EASA") and the EU.

The Safety Regulation Division of the IAA ensures specific compliance with safety objectives set down under section 14 of the Irish Aviation Authority Act 1993 and the annexes to the Chicago Convention which are implemented through a combination of EU and domestic Irish legislation.

The IAA's remit with respect to safety includes certification and registration of aircraft airworthiness, licensing personnel and organisations involved in aircraft maintenance, incident reporting and management, the protection, storage and collection of information, licensing pilots, air traffic controllers and aerodromes and approving and monitoring air carrier operating standards.

1.4 Is air safety regulated separately for commercial, cargo and private carriers?

No, the IAA regulates commercial cargo and private carriers.

1.5 Are air charters regulated separately for commercial, cargo and private carriers?

No, the IAA regulates air charters.

1.6 As regards international air carriers operating in your country, are there any particular limitations to be aware of, in particular when compared with 'domestic' or local operators?By way of example only, restrictions and taxes which apply to international but not domestic carriers.

In order to obtain an Irish ACOL, an airline must be at least 50% owned and controlled by EU Member States or nationals of EU Member States.

However, Ireland is party to the Chicago Convention 1944, which provides for availability as far as practicable, of aerodromes in its territory (Article 28) and equality of conditions for use of aerodromes for international and domestic aircraft (Article 15). Article 15 of the Convention further provides for equality of charges for use of aerodromes.

1.7 Are airports state or privately owned?

The three main airports Dublin, Cork and Shannon are state-owned. The regional airports, being Donegal, Galway, Knock, Kerry, Sligo and Waterford, are privately owned.

1.8 Do the airports impose requirements on carriers flying to and from the airports in your country?

Airport charges and terms of use are imposed on airlines by the relevant airport authority. Only charges at Dublin Airport are regulated by the CAR.

Terminal charges are levied by the IAA and, until 2015, regulated by the CAR.

The regime for economic regulation of aviation terminal services charges is being replaced by an EU regulatory regime. Under the Single European Sky ("SES") initiative, economic regulation of en-route over-flights was introduced in 2012. The extension of this EU regulatory regime to include aviation terminal services charges commenced in January 2015 and is planned to be fully implemented from 2017.

All airlines must comply with EU legislation on reduced mobility and consumer protection.

1.9 What legislative and/or regulatory regime applies to air accidents? For example, are there any particular rules, regulations, systems and procedures in place which need to be adhered to?

The AAIU is responsible for conducting technical investigations into air accidents in Ireland, as well as incidents outside of Ireland involving Irish-registered aircraft.

The Air Navigation (notification and investigation of accidents, serious incidents and incidents) Regulations 2009 ("2009 Regulations") give effect to the requirements of Annex 13 of the Chicago Convention and gives the AAIU the powers it needs to carry out full and detailed technical investigations.

EU Regulation 996/2010 on the Investigation and Prevention of Accidents and Incidents in Civil Aviation is directly applicable in Ireland.

Following an investigation, the AAIU will issue safety recommendations to the appropriate aviation authority. The AAIU does not purport to apportion blame or liability in respect of an accident.

1.10 Have there been any recent cases of note or other notable developments in your country involving air operators and/or airports?

Belair Holdings Limited v. Etole Holdings limited & Anor. [2015] IEHC 569 - the Irish High Court discharged a non-consensual interest registered on the International Register under the Cape Town Convention.

2 AIRCRAFT TRADING, FINANCE AND LEASING

2.1 Does registration of ownership in the aircraft register constitute proof of ownership?

The Irish aircraft register is operated and maintained by the IAA. It is a registry of nationality and not of title. Registration of an aircraft in the name of a person does not establish that person's title to the aircraft and it cannot be regarded as giving notice (whether actual or constructive) of a...

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