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.
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.
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?
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.  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 person's interest in an aircraft.
In order to register an aircraft in Ireland, the aircraft must have a connection to Ireland and, save in the rare case where the IAA grants a specific exemption, the applicant must demonstrate that the aircraft is either wholly owned by an Irish citizen or EU citizen having a place of residence or business in Ireland or owned by a company registered in and having its principal place of business in Ireland or the EU with not less than two-thirds of the directors also being Irish or EU citizens. Notwithstanding the foregoing, an aircraft may also be registered in Ireland if it is 'chartered by demise, leased or on hire to, or is in the course of being acquired under a lease-purchase or hire-purchase agreement by, a citizen or company' where such charter, lease or hire is to an individual or corporate fulfilling the above criteria, but such registration may be subject to such conditions as the IAA may deem fit to impose.
The IAA has concluded a number of arrangements with foreign civil aviation authorities which serve to delegate the responsibility for regulation and safety oversight for Irish-registered aircraft from the IAA to the operator's home state. These agreements are entered into pursuant to Article 83bis of the Chicago Convention which permits bilateral agreements between two aviation authorities of Chicago Convention contracting states.
2.2 Is there a register of aircraft mortgages and charges? Broadly speaking, what are the rules around the operation of this register?
The IAA does not operate a register of aircraft mortgages or third party rights or interests in aircraft or engines, and will not agree to requests to note a mortgage or third party interest on the aircraft register or related file. The IAA acknowledges Irrevocable De-Registration and Export Request Authorisation Register ("IDERA") pursuant to its obligations under the Cape Town Convention as enacted by the International Interests in Mobile Equipment (Cape Town Convention) Act 2005 (the "CTC Act 2005"), but this does not serve to notify third parties or perfect any security interest in an aircraft.
Aircraft mortgages and other 'charges' (as defined in the Companies Act 2014 (the "CA2014")) over aircraft granted by Irish companies and Irish-registered branches of foreign companies, are registrable with the Companies Registration Office (the "CRO") in Ireland within 21 days of the creation of the charge. The register maintained by the CRO operates as a priority register, with priority based on the time of filing, not the time of the interest being granted. Under the CA2014, priority interests can be filed up to 21 days prior to the date on which the charge is actually granted, with a full filing being made upon the charge actually being granted. Parties may elect to make a single filing upon the charge actually being entered into. If the charge is not registered within 21 days of the date on which it is granted, the charge becomes void against a liquidator and any creditor of the party granting the charge.
The CTC Act 2005 provides for the registration of certain interests in airframes and engines with the International Registry of Mobile Assets, to ensure priority. Aircraft mortgages are amongst the interests which constitute 'international interests' (as defined in the Cape Town Convention) to the extent the mortgage is granted by an owner in a contracting state or the aircraft is registered in a contracting state. The International Registry is an online register but, due to it being located in Dublin, disputes over registrations are heard or enforced in the Irish High Court regardless of the country in which the claim originates.
2.3 Are there any particular regulatory requirements which a lessor or a financier needs to be aware of as regards aircraft operation?
Strict liability is imposed on owners under section 21 of the Air Navigation and Transport Act 1936 (as amended) where material damage or loss is caused by any item falling from an aircraft in-flight. Lessors and financiers, unless holding an interest akin to an owner, are unlikely to be held to be liable under section 21 and in any event owners can be indemnified against the risks under section 21 by a third party. Section 21(2) of the Air Navigation and Transport Act 1936 (as amended) also provides that an owner will not be liable where the aircraft is subject to a charter or lease arrangement for 14 days or more and the pilot and crew are not in the employ of the owner.
Save as set out above, liability for financiers, owners and lessors is based in negligence and a failure on the part of the relevant party to discharge a duty of care. Thus lessors, owners and financiers are unlikely to be held to be responsible for losses resulting from the operation of an aircraft, unless they are actually aware of a defect or issue and failed to take reasonable action in respect of such defect or issue in order to prevent loss.
2.4 Is your country a signatory to the main international Conventions (Montreal, Geneva and Cape Town)?
Ireland is a signatory to the following conventions (as amendment and updated) in relation to international airline operations:
- Warsaw - ratified 29 September 1935.
- Chicago - ratified 31 October 1946.
- Geneva – ratified 3 June 1960.
- Rome – ratified 2 February 1963.
- New York – ratified 15 June 1971.
- Vienna – ratified 11 July 1972.
- Tokyo – ratified 14 November 1975.
- Hague – ratified 24 November 1975.
- Montreal – ratified 24 June 2004.
- Cape Town – ratified 23 August 2005.
Ireland has also signed, but has not yet ratified, the 1948 Geneva Convention on the International Recognition of Rights in Aircraft.
2.5 How are the Conventions applied in your country?
The Cape Town Convention became law in Ireland on 1 March 2006, following the passing of the CTC Act 2005. The court system, and in particular the Commercial Court in Ireland, is the appropriate means of enforcing the Cape Town Convention. The Commercial Court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear any proceedings in connection with any function of the International Registrar under the Cape Town Convention or the Aircraft Protocol as defined in the 2005 Act and the State Airport (Shannon Group) Act 2014, which at the time of writing was awaiting ministerial approval.
The Montreal Convention was implemented in Ireland by the Air Navigation and Transport (International Convention) Act 2004. The CAR has a significant consumer protection role. The court system in Ireland is the suitable forum for enforcement of the Montreal Convention. The CAR is the national enforcement body tasked with the monitoring and regulation of EU legislation covering air passenger rights and the provision of assistance to passengers with reduced mobility.
3 LITIGATION AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION
3.1 What rights of detention are available in relation to aircraft and unpaid debts?
Irish law recognises certain liens and rights of detention for unpaid debts or charges. The rights may arise in law, equity, under contract or statute.
At common law, the third party liens available are similar to other common law jurisdictions such as England and Wales. An unpaid seller may seek to exercise a seller's lien, although typical aircraft finance structures mean that aircraft manufacturers are not in a position (and in most instances do not need) to exercise such rights. A possessory lien may be exercised, for example where aircraft are subject to a claim for unpaid repairs. In order to exercise such a lien, the aircraft must be, and remain, in the possession of the party who carried out the repairs, and the specific aircraft over which the lien is sought to be exercised must have been improved through the labour of that party, with the knowledge and authorisation of the owner (note maintenance is probably insufficient) resulting in an unpaid debt. Such a lien would only extend to the cost of unpaid repairs to the specific aircraft in question, and would not allow for a right of sale without court intervention. Contractual liens can also be created, and if provided for in the agreement between the airport user and the owner or operator of an airport, aircraft can be detained, and sold, for non-payment of certain airport charges.
The Air Navigation and Transport (Amendment) Act 1998 (section 40) affords certain airports operated by specified Airport Authorities the right to detain and, if necessary, to sell aircraft in respect of certain unpaid airport charges. This power to detain extends beyond the particular aircraft in respect of which the charges were incurred to any other aircraft of the operator or registered owner. This can cause problems for new operators assuming liability for pre-existing debts. If the owner or operator disputes the charges and offers sufficient security pending determination of the dispute, the power to detain is limited. As regards the power of sale, it can only be exercised with leave of the Irish High Court.
Parties in possession of judgments may also be entitled to exercise certain rights against an aircraft or shares in an aircraft holding company, provided appropriate judgment enforcement procedures have been followed, but an Irish court will have regard to prior and superior interests in granting any such reliefs.
3.2 Is there a regime of self-help available to a lessor or a financier of aircraft if it needs to reacquire possession of the aircraft or enforce any of its rights under the lease/finance agreement?
Ireland is generally seen as a creditor-friendly jurisdiction, allowing self-help repossession and interim relief and other self-help remedies provided the contractual arrangements between the parties provide for same. Standard default remedies under leasing and security agreements often include powers to take possession or control of the aircraft in order to: sell or grant a new lease of the aircraft; receive income or profits that result from the management or use of the aircraft; and/or procure the deregistration, export and physical transfer of the aircraft from the territory in which it is located. In Ireland, provided the requirements of the Convention are met, it is not necessary to make an application to the High Court for leave to exercise that remedy unless the terms agreed between the parties expressly require the creditor to make such an application.
While self-help remedies may be available, there are risks for the lessor associated with non- consensual repossession without ancillary judicial relief, such as a lessee claiming breach of lease terms for quiet enjoyment and use of the aircraft. It is often considered prudent for the lessor to institute recovery proceedings where the lessee is considered uncooperative, or where a liquidator or examiner has been appointed to the lessee.
As a member of the EU, the relevant Declaration pursuant to Article 55 of the Convention and the application of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments applies to interim relief under the Convention.
Ireland is a signatory of and has ratified the Cape Town Convention, and has given effect to the Aircraft Protocol. Legislation in 2014 has afforded the Irish Government the power to make an order to give effect to Article XI (Alternative A) of the Aircraft Protocol, which should further enhance Ireland's position as a leading jurisdiction for aircraft finance. The relevant ministerial order giving effect to Alternative A is expected in the near future.
3.3 Which courts are appropriate for aviation disputes? Does this depend on the value of the dispute? For example, is there a distinction in your country regarding the courts in which civil and criminal cases are brought?
Aviation disputes in Ireland will typically be dealt with in the civil courts, in particular the Commercial Court division of the High Court, which deals with commercial disputes where the quantum of the claim exceeds, amongst other things, €1m, and enjoys enhanced case management procedures. This Court also deals exclusively with proceedings in connection with any function of the Registrar under the Cape Town Convention or the Aircraft Protocol.
3.4 What service requirements apply for the service of court proceedings, and do these differ for domestic airlines/parties and non-domestic airlines/parties?
As most disputes will invoke the High Court jurisdiction, the Rules of the Superior Courts prescribe the relevant methods of service. Personal service on individuals may be effected in the State. Service on a company in the State must be effected in accordance with section 51 of the Companies Act 2014, by leaving the proceedings at or sending them by prepaid post to the registered office of the Company. Where the company has not notified the Registrar of Companies of its registered office, the documents may be served on the Registrar.
For parties located outside the State but within the EU, Council Regulations (EC) No. 1215/2012 on Jurisdiction and No. 1348/2000 on effecting service may apply. For parties outside the EU, leave of the Irish Court to issue and serve proceedings may be required, with service thereafter effected pursuant to the Hague Service Convention.
3.5 What type of remedies are available from the courts or arbitral tribunals in your country, both on an i) interim and a ii) final basis?
In general, the Irish courts have jurisdiction to order and direct the full range of common law and equitable remedies to include making orders providing for interim and interlocutory relief, together with final orders including declaratory orders, injunctions and associated damages and costs awards.
The Arbitration Act 2010, which adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law, as amended in 2006 (the "Model Law"), with some minimal amendments, applies to all arbitrations, both domestic and international, commenced in Ireland after 8 June 2010. Unlike England and Wales, Ireland deliberately avoided wholesale amendments and additions to the Model Law. Therefore, Articles 9 and 17 in respect of interim measures apply.
3.6 Are there any rights of appeal to the courts from the decision of a court or arbitral tribunal, and, if so, in what circumstances do these rights arise?
Appeals of High Court decisions as the court of first instance may be made to the Court of Appeal, and thereafter, on certain limited grounds, to the Irish Supreme Court.
Ireland ratified the New York Convention in 1981 and no reservations have been entered. The relevant legislation is now the Arbitration Act 2010, which does not provide for a right of appeal against an arbitral award.
The grounds for challenging an arbitral award before the High Court under the 2010 Act are limited to those expressly enumerated under Article 34(2) of the Model Law (which mirrors the grounds on which recognition and enforcement might be refused under the New York Convention as per Article 36 of the Model Law). Challenges must be brought within three months from the date of receipt of the award. Section 12 of the 2010 Act, however, requires that any challenge on the basis of public policy must be brought within 56 days of the date on which the circumstances giving rise to the application became known or ought reasonably to have become known. The jurisprudence suggests Irish courts will construe the ground of public policy as extending only to breaches of the most fundamental notions of morality and justice.
4 COMMERCIAL AND REGULATORY
4.1 How does your country approach and regulate joint ventures between airline competitors?
Joint ventures between airlines are subject to Irish competition law, which implements and is fully compliant with EU competition law. Therefore, joint ventures are subject to sections 4 and 5 of the Irish Competition Act 2002 (as amended), which implement Articles 101 (anti-competitive agreements) and 102 (abuse of a dominant position) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
Rights to operate commercial air services between Ireland and states outside the European Union are subject to the existence of bilateral Air Service Agreements under the Chicago Convention and the provisions of domestic law. Ireland has a significant number of such agreements with third countries.
Ireland also adheres to the US–EU Open Skies Agreement and Single European Skies policy, one of the cornerstones of which has been the creation of functional airspace blocks ("FABs") between various groups of EU Member States. FABs have been created with a view to aligning management of airspace creating a no-boundaries, route-free block of upper airspace that allows airlines to find their optimum flight paths. Ireland and the UK signed an agreement in 2008 establishing a functional airspace block between the two countries.
4.2 How do the competition authorities in your country determine the "relevant market" for the purposes of mergers and acquisitions?
The relevant body is the Competition and Consumer Protection Authority ("CCPC").
There is no statutory definition and the market may be defined broadly or narrowly in the context of the particular case.
Market sectors used in EU case law such as origin and destination city pairs, premium and non-premium passengers, non-stop and one-stop flights and airport substitution will equally be considered by the CCPC in Ireland.
4.3 Does your country have a notification system whereby parties to an agreement can obtain regulatory clearance/anti-trust immunity from regulatory agencies?
All mergers and acquisitions that fall within the remit of the Competition Act 2002 require mandatory clearance by submitting a notification to the CCPC.
4.4 How does your country approach mergers, acquisition mergers and full-function joint ventures?
Ireland's competition policy is closely aligned with EU principles of competition law. The test is whether the merger, acquisition or joint venture will substantially lessen competition in the market for consumers in Ireland.
The CCPC is responsible for enforcing Irish and European competition law in Ireland. They can enforce by way of criminal or civil proceedings, with heavy fines and prison sentences available. However, the CCPC applies these sparingly.
4.5 Details of the procedure, including time frames for clearance and any costs of notifications.
A notification is lodged by the parties involved in the relevant transaction to the CCPC in relation to the merger, acquisition or joint venture. The CCPC then has 30 working days to give a Phase I clearance or to determine that the issues are sufficiently complex to require a Phase II clearance for which the CCPC has 120 working days. These timelines can be extended by the CCPC by requesting further information. In general, however, the CCPC deals with the majority of cases in Phase I without extending the timeline, so the system works very efficiently.
The fee charged by the CCPC is €8,000.
4.6 Are there any sector-specific rules which govern the aviation sector in relation to financial support for air operators and airports, including (without limitation) state aid?
Ireland applies EU law on State Aid in general. In the aviation sector in particular, it applies the EU Commission Guidelines on State Aid to airports and airlines (2014/C 99/03).
The State provided financial support, under the Regional Airports Programme 2011-2014, to four regional airports (Donegal, Ireland West Airport Knock, Kerry and Waterford).
Ireland's National Aviation Policy adopted in August 2015 provides that Ireland will implement an EU-approved Framework (Regional Airports Programme 2015-2019) of supports for regional airports which will gradually be phased out over a maximum of 10 years.
4.7 Are state subsidies available in respect of particular routes? What criteria apply to obtaining these subsidies?
Under EU Regulations, DOTTS has established Public Service Obligation ("PSO") air services from two airports in Ireland on the basis that these services are considered necessary for the economic development of their regions and that they would not be provided on a commercial basis. Current contracts, which commenced on 1 February 2015, are in place for air services between Dublin and the regional airports in Kerry and Donegal.
These contracts will run for two years initially and, subject to a satisfactory review after 18 months, may be extended by a maximum of one year.
4.8 What are the main regulatory instruments governing the acquisition, retention and use of passenger data, and what rights do passengers have in respect of their data which is held by airlines?
The Data Protection Acts (1988 and 2003) are the primary pieces of legislation giving effect to EU Directive 95/46/EC in Irish law. In keeping with the relevant EU principles, data collectors and processors in the airline industry must adhere to the core requirements of: fairly obtaining and fairly processing personal data; keeping collected data only for one or more specified lawful purposes; processing such data only in ways compatible with the purpose for which it was given; as well as keeping the data safe and secure, and ensuring that it is kept accurate and up to date.
SI 336/2011 European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Privacy and Electronic Communications) Regulations 2011, giving effect to Directive 2002/58 on Privacy and Electronic Communications (otherwise known as the E-Privacy Directive), also apply to the airline industry, and in particular, communications with, and use of, passenger data in marketing.
4.9 In the event of a data loss by a carrier, what obligations are there on the airline which has lost the data and are there any applicable sanctions?
Irish data protection law includes obligations to notify affected data subjects in the event of a data breach and a requirement to report breaches to the Data Protection Commissioner. The notification and reporting requirements vary based upon the specific circumstances of the data loss/breach. The Irish Data Protection Commissioner has approved a personal data security breach Code of Practice as a guide to organisations dealing with breaches of security involving customer or employee personal information. The time frames for reporting and notification are extremely limited (24 hours in certain instances), and a failure to adhere to the required reporting requirements can lead to regulatory sanction. Irish law also includes a requirement to notify the Irish police where the data breach potentially involves the commission of a crime, i.e. a cybersecurity attack or fraud.
4.10 What are the mechanisms available for the protection of intellectual property (e.g. trademarks) and other assets and data of a proprietary nature?
Registration of intellectual property is carried out by the Irish Patents Office.
Registration of trademarks is governed by the Trade Marks Act 1996. A trademark is usually registered for an initial 10-year period but can be renewed indefinitely. Unregistered trademarks may also be protected by the common law tort of passing-off.
Patent registration is governed by the Patents Act 1992. Irish patents are protected for a maximum of 20 years. Short-term, 10-year patents can also be obtained. Protection can be sought abroad by an application for a European Patent through the European Patent Office which includes 40 countries, or under the Patent Cooperation Treaty administered by WIPO which covers 145 countries.
Registration of designs is governed by the Industrial Designs Act 2001. Protection is granted initially for five years which can be renewed four times, giving a maximum protection of 25 years. Protection abroad can be obtained by means of a Community Design in the EU, by application to the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market ("OHIM") in Alicante, Spain. Protection in additional countries can be obtained under the Hague Convention operated by WIPO. Protection is also available for unregistered designs for up to a maximum of three years.
Copyright protection in Ireland is governed by the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000. There is no system of registration. It is a property right which can be transferred. The internationally recognised symbol © is normally used to denote copyright. Copyright protection for literary works lasts for 70 years after the death of the author. Copyright protection for computer-generated works lasts for 70 years after the date they are first made available to the public.
Other non-registerable Intellectual Property such as confidential information, trade secrets, know-how and the like are normally protected by non-disclosure agreements or other forms of contract.
4.11 Is there any legislation governing the denial of boarding rights?
Ireland complies with Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 in relation to denied boarding rights.
Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding, the cancellation or long delay of flights, downgrading to a lower ticket class, which apply to passengers departing from an airport located in the territory of a Member State to which the TFEU applies and passengers departing from an airport located in a third country to an airport situated in the territory of a Member State to which the TFEU applies. Under the Aviation Act 2006, the CAR is responsible for enforcing these Denied Boarding Compensation Regulations in Ireland.
4.12 What powers do the relevant authorities have in relation to the late arrival and departure of flights?
Ireland complies with Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 in relation to late arrival and departure of flights.
The amount of compensation payable depends on the distance of the flight. If the flight is classed as:
- short-haul, the amount payable is €250 per person.
- medium-haul, the amount payable is €400 per person.
- long-haul, the amount payable is €600 per person.
The CAR is the designated enforcement body in Ireland. Section 45 of the Aviation Act 2001 (as amended) gives the CAR the right to issue a direction to any airline in breach of Regulation 261/2004 requiring compliance. If the airline fails to comply, it is guilty of an offence. Whilst an airline can make representations to the CAR during the process, it can only challenge its decision by way of judicial review in the High Court.
4.13 Are the airport authorities governed by particular legislation? If so, what obligations, broadly speaking, are imposed on the airport authorities?
The airport authority for Dublin and Cork Airports is the daa plc.
The airport authority for Shannon Airport is the Shannon Airport Authority Limited.
The relevant legislation is the State Airports Act 2004 and the State Airports (Shannon Group) Act 2014.
This legislation dictates that the airports are owned by the State, and the policy position is that this will not change in the foreseeable future. Governance and structure of the airport authorities is set out in the legislation, as well as detailed provision on operation of the airports.
Airport operators are subject to law such as consumer law, health and safety, employment, etc.
4.14 To what extent does general consumer protection legislation apply to the relationship between the airport operator and the passenger?
Ireland implements EU consumer law. The general legislation applicable in Ireland is the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980. This applies to aviation-related matters also.
The CCPC is responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws.
The Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act 1995 also regulates the travel contract between travel operator and consumer.
4.15 What global distribution suppliers (GDSs) operate in your country?
Many of the major GDSs operate in Ireland, including Travelport, Amadeus, Sabre, etc.
4.16 Are there any ownership requirements pertaining to GDSs operating in your country?
No, there are no ownership requirements specific to GDSs operating in Ireland.
4.17 Is vertical integration permitted between air operators and airports (and, if so, under what conditions)?
There is no particular prohibition on vertical integration between air operators and airports, though competition law will be relevant.
5 IN FUTURE
5.1 In your opinion, which pending legislative or regulatory changes (if any) or potential developments affecting the aviation industry more generally in your country are likely to feature or be worthy of attention in the next two years or so?
The Irish government's expressed support for the wider aviation industry, contained in the Policy Document, will ensure that when enacting new legislation in Ireland, aviation and the significance of the industry to the Irish economy will be at the forefront of the legislators' considerations, whilst the State Airport (Shannon Group) Act 2014 which, inter alia, serves to enact the alternative A insolvency regime in Ireland, will strengthen Ireland's appeal as a hub for owning, leasing and financing aircraft and its position as a global centre for aviation.
Whilst the OECD BEPS project is expected to result in significant changes to international tax arrangements, the impact on the aviation industry in Ireland is expected to be minimal due to the robust legislative framework, particularly pursuant to S110 of the Tax Consolidation Act 1997, which was extended to plant and machinery (including aircraft) under the Finance Act 2011, which will serve to enhance the appeal of Ireland as an attractive jurisdiction for the owning, financing and leasing of aircraft.
DOTTS is carrying out an extensive review of airport charges which may result in legislative change in this area in the next year or two. It is also carrying out a review of the role of the CAR and IAA in light of SES regulation, which again may change the role of these two bodies and necessitate legislation.
The authors are grateful to Brian Clarke for his invaluable contribution to this chapter.
Originally published by International Comparative Legal Guide to Aviation Law 2016, 4th Edition, Global Legal Group Ltd.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.