The Irish Aviation Authority was established under the Irish Aviation Authority Act 1993.
The Minister has the power to require the authority to comply with policy decisions of a general kind made by the government. It may be required to refrain from doing things to which the functions relate, specified in a direction or refrain from doing that, which in the opinion of the Minister, is necessary or expedient in the national interest or for the purpose of enabling the State to become a member of an international organization whose function relates to air navigation.
The principal purposes of the Authority are to:
- give effect to the Chicago Convention.
- ensure Irish airspace or other airspace to which navigation services are provided are used in a safe and efficient manner.
- operate, manage, and arrange the provision of navigation services in Irish and other airspaces.
- operate terminal services, aerodromes, and licensed aerodromes,
- impose charges,
- arrange for medical examination for holders of certificates.
- regulate registration, airworthiness, and operation and maintenance of aircraft.
- regulate competence of persons engaged
- in design, manufacture, repair, and modification of aircraft,
- operation of aircraft,
- operation and maintenance of aircraft,
- operation of aeronautical communication systems, and
- operation and management of services at an aerodrome.
The Authority is given powers to give effect to the Eurocontrol Convention. Provisions are made for recovery of sums due to Eurocontrol.
A determination in one contracting state is to be recognised in another. There is a streamlined enforcement of determination under the Eurocontrol system. Determinations made under the Convention are deemed to have the force of a High Court order. There are provisions for non-recognition of a determination.
Orders Making Powers
The authority has the power to make orders as necessary for the purpose of giving effect to the Chicago Convention. These may include prescribing the authority by which any of the powers exercisable under the legislation are to be exercised in the State, including those relating to:
- Licensing and regulation of aerodromes,
- regulation of refuelling,
- inspection of aerodromes,
- installations and equipment,
- inspection of aircraft,
- inspection of records,
- inspection and approval of premises used for the design, manufacture, repair, maintenance of aircraft, production of material, storage of fuel, and operation of aircraft.
- approval of persons.
- inspection of works carried out.
- licensed persons.
- the renewal and issue of certificates and licences required under the legislation.
- the registration of aircraft.
- conditions subject to which aircraft may be used in different circumstances and for different purposes.
- conditions on which aircraft may enter or leave or operate in the State for passengers or vehicles.
- restricting airspace and providing for danger areas.
- requiring payment of fees on licences and renewals.
- requiring warning lights on buildings.
- controlling or regulating lights for air navigation
- regulating signals for providing access to and entry from premises where necessary for the purpose of its function.
The Authority has enhanced powers in relation to the investigation of aircraft accidents and incidents. It may require information in relation to any accident or incident. Authorised officers of the Authority have powers of investigation and powers to require information. Amendments are made to the power to detain aircraft.
The Authority may appoint persons to be authorised officers for the purpose of the legislation. They may enter aircraft and require the operator or registered owner to produce for inspection such documents as may be required. They may inspect the aircraft for the purpose of ascertaining compliance with the legislation.
Commission for Aviation Regulation
The Aviation Regulation Act provided for the establishment of the Commission for Aviation Regulation as an independent body to regulate certain aspects of aviation, tourism, and travel agencies. The Commission is to be independent in the exercise of its functions. Its principal function is to regulate airport charges and aviation terminal charges.
The Commission comprises members nominated by the Minister for terms of appointment between 3 and 5 years.
The Commission has the power to fix a levy for the purpose of financing its functions. The levy is payable at such rates as are prescribed. Records and returns are required of those liable to pay the levy. Under the legislation, the Commission is to make a determination specifying maximum level of air charges for a five-year period. This legislation was subsequently revised.
The regulatory objectives of the Commission are specified in relation to the charges. This includes
- facilitating the development and operation of cost-effective airport having regard to the level of investment required for airport facilities.
- raising the rate of returning capital employed.
- efficient use of resources.
- contribution to the region
- costs incurred by the airport.
- level of income.
- cost competitiveness and efficiency of airport services relative to international practice.
Amendment of Irish Aviation Authority Act 1993- The 2022 Act covers governance, funding and enforcement arrangements for the IAA. The IAA shall assist and advise the Minister for Transport in relation to the Minister’s civil aviation functions. It further provides that the IAA will provide access to documents under its control relating to this advice.
The number of directors of the IAA shall be 7,8, or 9 and shall serve terms of up to 5 years except for the ex-officio director, the Chief Executive.
The IAA can borrow up to €40m, and this limit can be amended by the Minister for Transport with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The Minister for Transport may guarantee borrowings of the IAA up to €32m and this limit can be amended by the Minister with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
The Minister for Transport may advance money to the IAA with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The amount is repayable with interest.
The IAA must consult with the Minister for Transport when making an order to give effect to the Annexes to the Chicago Convention.
Revised Governance 2022
The Minister for Transport will no longer be able to give a policy direction regarding the principal function of the Commission
The Commission will report annually on the implementation of its strategy statement. This is aligned with the IAA governance reporting arrangements and facilitates separate reporting for its powers under the 2001 Acts.
The 2022 Act aligns the governance arrangements of the Commission with that of the IAA in relation to the preparation of a strategy statement and a business plan. It provides that the Commission shall prepare a strategy statement every 3 years and list the information to be provided. It provides that the Minister for Transport can specify the form and any matters that should be included in the statement.
The Minister will lay the statement before the Houses of the Oireachtas and publish it on the internet. The Commission may extend the period of a determination by up to 2 years.
The objective of the Commission in making a determination on airport charges is to promote the reasonable interest of the users of the Dublin airport. It shall also seek to promote safety and security and facilitate the efficient and economic development of the airport and its operation. In addition, it shall seek to promote high quality and effective services. Furthermore, the Commission will have regard to Government policy on aviation and climate change and the need to encourage competition.
Performance & Reporting
The IAA will prepare a statement of strategy every 3 years and submit it to the Minister for Transport to lay before the Houses of the Oireachtas. It lists the conditions that apply to the statement of strategy, including that it must comply with directions of the Minister and set out key objectives, outputs and strategies. It must also have regard to the IAA’s resources. In addition, the IAA shall prepare an annual business plan having regard to the statement of strategy.
The Minister for Transport, at least every 5 years, shall examine the performance of the IAA in relation to aircraft and air navigation technical and safety standards. The Minister can make regulations to specify an aspect, the scope and form of the examination and report. The Minister may publish a form of the report.
The IAA shall submit to the Minister for Transport an annual report on its performance in regulating aviation safety. The report will include planned activity for the coming year and a review of the past year’s activity. It should include details of activities of the past year and the outcome of the external oversight related to the listed programmes, plan and review. The Minister may direct the form of the report and matters to which it relates, and it shall be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The IAA and its Chief Executive to appear before a Committee of the Houses of the Oireachtas. They shall account for the performance of the IAA’s functions, when requested, and have regard to any recommendations of the Committee.
Restructuring of IAA 2022
The 2022 Act provides for the making of orders and directions which may be required to give effect to the restructuring. It provides for arrangements between the IAA and the IANS with the consent of the Minister for Transport and it provides that the IAA, CAR and the IANS shall provide information and assistance to the Minister for Transport.
The 2022 Act provides for amendments to the Aviation Regulation Act 2001. This is a preparatory provision to ensure that the functions and protocols currently assigned to the CAR are merged seamlessly into the new IAA. It aligns the current governance arrangements of the CAR with those of the IAA and strengthens the enforcement powers related to CAR functions.
Executive & Staffing
The first Chief Executive appointed after the Act is commenced shall be appointed for a period of not more than 7 years by the Minister for Transport and may be removed by the Minister. The Minister must consult with the directors of the IAA before removing the Chief Executive.
Every following Chief Executive shall be appointed again by the Minister for a period not more than 7 years, however, the Minister must consult with the directors before appointing or removing the Chief Executive. Additionally, every Chief Executive will be an ex-officio director of the IAA.
The IAA can appoint staff members on agreed terms and conditions. The terms and conditions, remuneration, allowances or expenses for staff of the IAA must have regard to any Government or nationally agreed guidelines which are in force or to Government policy concerning remuneration and conditions of employment also in force.
Furthermore, the IAA must comply with any directive in relation to those terms and conditions, remuneration, allowance or expenses given by the Minister for Transport, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
Charges & Levies
The IAA may charge for its functions under any legislation, any services provided, or property sold, hired or leased. Furthermore, it may charge for its functions under the European Legislation listed in Schedule 2. Regulations related to a levy made of the Aviation Regulation Act of 2001 shall continue until the IAA revokes them.
The IAA can require the payment of fees for its functions under any Act, and it can recover that debt as a simple contract debt.
There are powers to authorised officers of the IAA for the purpose of enforcement of the company’s functions under legislation. It provides that an authorised officer can enter premises and require records and information to be produced, maintained or retained. It also provides powers for an authorised officer to take copies of and remove such records or information.
It lists the categories of persons to which this power applies and provides that an authorised officer can apply for a warrant to the District Court when prevented from entering a premise. It sets out a list of actions that may result in a Class A fine on summary conviction for a person.
The Act provides for search warrants and the conditions that apply to such warrants and it indemnifies a person performing their duties against all actions and claims. It further provides that fixed charge offences may be declared by Regulations drafted by the Minister for Transport in consultation with the Minister for Justice. It provides that a prosecution for the alleged offence shall not be instituted if the payment of the fixed charge is made within the period specified in the notice of the charge.
The IAA can issue an enforcement notice giving a direction to the IANS for failing to comply with legislation relating to the functions of the IANS. It provides that the IANS can apply for the cancellation of such a direction to the High Court.
The Commission has the power to make aviation terminal service charges. The determination was to be in force for 5 years. The determination provides an overall limit on the level of aviation terminal service chargeable, limits for particular categories of charges or for a combination of limits.
A determination may operate or restrict the increase of charges or require reductions by reference to a formula. They provide for different limits to apply in different periods within the determination period. Prior to making the determination, certain procedures apply.
The regulatory objectives for aviation terminal charges are broadly similar to those above.
There is a procedure for an airport authority, the Irish Aviation Authority or an airport user responsible for the carriage of passengers or freight to appeal a determination. An appeal panel is constituted for such purpose.
The Commission has the power to appoint, authorised officers. They have the power to enter premises, inspect books, remove documents and records, require information, etc, for the purpose of their function. It is an offence to impede, obstruct, or fail to cooperate with an authorised officer.
Charges 2022 Act
Minister may review regulation of airport charges by Commission
The Minister for Transport may carry out a review of the regulation of airport charges. It provides a number of conditions and procedures that must be met. It provides that a report of the review shall be submitted to the Government, laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas and published on the internet.
The appeal to the High Court provides that if a person is aggrieved by a determination of the Commission they can appeal to the High Court. The High Court may make an order including that it affirms, sets aside, amends or sends a determination for review to the Commission. An appeal does not affect the operation of a determination unless so specified by the court.
The 2022 Act removes the reference to a supplier of aviation terminal services provider from the list.
Where an air carrier has committed an offence, it commits a further offence for each day that it fails to comply.
It provides that the IAA (with the CAR functions merged) may review the market power of airport authorities. It places the interests of users at the top of the hierarchy of objectives in regulating airport charges and it removes the redundant provisions relating to a legacy role for CAR in regulating terminal service charges. Following the commencement of Part 10, any references to CAR will be construed as a reference to the IAA.
The IAA (having absorbed the functions of the CAR) will have the power to carry out an assessment of market power held by an airport authority. The Minister for Transport may request such a review and the IAA must then carry it out. It provides the process for carrying out such a review and that a report will be provided to the Minister with recommendations on the regulation of airport charges. There is an obligation on the airport authority to provide information to the IAA for the purpose of the review.
Directions – Regulations of 2011
The Commission may direct the DAA if it is of the opinion that the DAA has not complied with the regulations of 2011. It provides that the DAA can make representations on the direction and that the Commission shall respond to any such representations. Furthermore, the DAA may appeal the direction to the High Court. If the DAA fails to comply with a direction, the DAA commits an offence, and it commits a further offence for each day that it fails to comply.
SCHEDULE 2 2022
Schedule 2 becomes the first schedule to the Act of 1993. It lists the Annexes to the Chicago Convention that are conferred on the IAA.
SCHEDULE 3 2022
Schedule 3 becomes the second schedule to the Act of 1993 and lists EU Regulations under which the IAA is the competent authority. It includes EU Regulations relating to Air Carriers, Air Navigation, Air Passengers, Airports, Aircraft, Aviation Safety, Pilots and Cabin Crew Security and Slot Coordination.