Recent developments and trends

Recent developments

Are there any notable recent developments or trends in the aviation sector in your jurisdiction?

The Cape Town Convention Alternative A insolvency remedy came into force in Ireland on 10 May 2017. Alternative A is set out in Article XI of the Protocol to the Cape Town Convention, signed in Cape Town on 16 November 2001. By choosing to adopt Alternative A, Ireland gave the force of law to a regime functionally equivalent to the wellestablished Section 1110 US Bankruptcy Code system. Alternative A applies to leases, security agreements and conditional sale agreements for which registrations have been carried out on the International Registry of Mobile Assets. It provides a waiting period of 60 days, following which an aircraft object must be returned to the lender or lessor by the debtor, airline or insolvency administrator unless all defaults (other than a default constituted by insolvency proceedings) are cured and the debtor agrees to perform all future obligations under the relevant agreements.

Ireland was one of the first countries in Europe to introduce a mandatory register for aerial drones (above one kilo) pursuant to the Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Rockets Order (Statutory Instrument) 563/2015 (the Drones Order). Ireland was also the first country to implement an online drone registration facility.

Regulatory framework

Domestic law

What is the primary domestic legislation governing the aviation industry in your jurisdiction?

Ireland has several different sources of legislation relevant to the aviation industry. These include primary legislation (ie, legislation passed by way of a parliamentary act by the Houses of Parliament in Ireland) and secondary legislation, which is passed by way of statutory instrument. Other relevant sources of legislation with applicability in Ireland include international conventions and legislation issued by EU institutions, which in some instances have a direct effect on Ireland. Domestic legislation governing aviation in Ireland is heavily influenced by applicable European law.

International law

What international aviation agreements has your jurisdiction concluded?

Ireland is party to a wide range of international aviation conventions, including the Cape Town Convention and Aircraft Protocol 2001, the Montreal Convention 1999, the Hague Convention 1970, the Tokyo Convention 1970, the Chicago Convention 1944 and the Warsaw Convention 1929 (as amended). Ireland has also signed – but not yet ratified – the Geneva Convention 1959.

Ireland is party to 29 bilateral air services agreements with non-EU countries. Their purpose is to regulate the provision of air services between the jurisdictions, which provide important access rights for air carriers.

Regulatory authorities

Which government bodies regulate the aviation industry and what is the extent of their powers?

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) is the Irish governmental department charged with the oversight of aviation policy. The implementation of certain DTTAS policies has been entrusted to the following bodies:

  • the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR);
  • the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA); and
  • the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU).

The CAR was established in 2001 under the Aviation Regulation Act 2001 (as amended). The principal functions of the CAR are to:

  • regulate certain airport and air traffic control charges;
  • license and issue certain permits for air carriers, travel agents, ground handlers and tour operators;
  • allocate airport slots at certain airports; and
  • oversee compliance with EU regulations regarding consumer protection in the aviation industry.

The CAR has a number of statutory powers in these areas to ensure regulatory compliance, including the suspension and revocation of relevant authorisations.

The IAA was established under the Irish Aviation Authority Act 1993 (as amended) and has oversight and responsibilities in the areas of:

  • air traffic management (in Irish controlled airspace);
  • safety standards for civilian aviation in Ireland;
  • the certification and registration of aircraft in Ireland;
  • the licensing of certain aircraft personnel and aircraft maintenance organisations; and
  • the issuance of air operator certificates to air carriers.

The IAA has broad legislative powers in these areas, which extends to the suspension and revocation of licences, and powers of enforcement.

The AAIU investigates aviation incidents occurring within Ireland and relating to Irish registered aircraft. It also coordinates and cooperates with safety investigation authorities overseas.

Air carrier operations

Operating authorisation

What procedural and documentary requirements must air carriers meet in order to operate in your jurisdiction?

An air carrier involved in commercial air transport (ie, the transport of passengers or cargo for hire or reward) and having its principal place of business in Ireland must hold a valid air operator certificate issued by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and a valid air carrier operating licence issued by the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) before it can engage in commercial air transport operations. EU and EEA air carriers with a valid air operator certificate and air carrier operating licence issued by their relevant national competent authorities may operate in and out of Ireland. Non-EEA air carriers seeking to operate in and out of Ireland must apply for authorisation from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS), which it grants in conjunction with the IAA, subject to compliance with applicable safety standards.

To qualify for an air carrier operating licence, an applicant must satisfy the licensing conditions set out in EU Regulation 1008/2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the European community (the Air Services Regulation), which is directly applicable in Ireland. There are two categories of air carrier operating licence that may be granted by the CAR – Category A and Category B – which are dependent on the maximum take-off weight and passenger capacity of the aircraft to be operated by the relevant air carrier.

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Originally published in Lexology

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