Question to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Mr Leo Varadkar, TD)
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if there are plans in place to alter existing levels of air traffic control coverage at any of the three State Airports; in view of the strategic regional and national importance of Cork Airport, if he will reaffirm the steps being taken to ensure that viability of the airport is maintained and that air traffic control services will be maintained for late arrivals, new business, early cargo flights, medical evacuation and emergency services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 17th July, 2013.
I have been made aware by the IAA that it is considering the introduction of limited restrictions in its air traffic control services at Cork Airport as a result, in particular, of low night-time traffic levels at the airport. In this context, however, it is necessary to bear in mind that under the provisions of the Irish Aviation Authority Act 1993, one of the IAA’s principal objects empowers the company to decide, as it sees fit, the extent to which it should operate and manage terminal navigation services at any of the three State airports, including Cork Airport. Accordingly, I have no statutory function in relation to this matter.
I understand that the IAA has decided to postpone for a six-month period its decision on the implementation of a modified air traffic control service at Cork Airport during which time traffic levels during the night-time will be monitored. This monitoring of the operational and commercial environment at the airport is designed to ensure the provision of an air traffic control service appropriate to the level of traffic at Cork Airport, including a continuous 24 hour operation if the traffic demand requires. The IAA has advised Cork Airport that the changes under consideration would have had no impact on medical evacuation or emergency flights.
I believe that the IAA has arranged a consultation meeting in Cork in August that will also be attended by the operators of Cork Airport as well as local business representatives. This initiative will provide an excellent forum for the interested parties involved to present their concerns and interests and I am confident that a satisfactory outcome can be achieved.