Air transport regulation
Air transport (including commercial and private services) is regulated by the Department of Transport. The European Union (EU) has a liberalised air transport market, this means that there are no restrictions on flight frequency, or routes that EU airlines can fly within the EU/European Economic Area (EEA). The liberalised air transport market in the EU has enabled more frequent flights, greater availability, further destinations, lower fares and increased choice for the traveller.
Airlines from countries outside of the EU/EEA must request permission each time they wish to fly to, from or over Ireland. These requests are sent in writing to the Department of Transport, where they are examined for compliance with safety standards, airworthiness and insurance.
Military air transport in Ireland is regulated by the Department of Defence.
There are nine airports in Ireland. Three of these airports (Dublin, Cork and Shannon) are owned by the Irish government and operated on its behalf by separate airport authorities. The other Irish airports at Waterford, Knock, Galway, Sligo, Donegal and Kerry are privately owned.
Under Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006, airport authorities are responsible for ensuring that a passenger with reduced mobility receives the necessary assistance from their point of arrival at the airport to the point of boarding the aircraft. There is a similar provision for passengers who are landing at an EU airport. The Commission for Aviation Regulation is the national enforcement body for this regulation in Ireland.
If you are travelling to or from an airport in Ireland, you should notify your airline at least 48 hours in advance if you require any special facilities.
Air accidents and incidents
The Air Accident Investigation Unit is located at the Department of Transport and has responsibility for investigating all aircraft accidents and incidents within Ireland. You can download Reports of all air accidents, incidents and investigations within Ireland or request a copy by post (see ‘Where to apply’ below).
Irish Aviation Authority
The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is a state agency with responsibility for a range of functions relating to the safety and technical aspects of passenger and cargo flights in Ireland. For example the IAA operates the air traffic control centres around Ireland and monitors the airspace. The IAA also issues licences to aircraft pilots, registers aircraft and ensures that civil aviation follows the highest international standards of safety.
Commission for Aviation Regulation
The Commission for Aviation Regulation has a number of responsibilities including:
- Setting the maximum level of airport service charges
- Licensing the travel industry (both tour operators and travel agents)
- Administering a bonding scheme (to help refund customers in the event of a travel agent collapse)
- Licensing of Irish airlines
- Approving ground-handling service providers under regulations implementing EU legislation
- Assessing capacity at Irish airports
- Deciding the manner in which take-off and landing slots are administered
The Commission also has a consumer protection role. It enforces EU legislation covering air passenger rights and the provision of assistance to passengers with reduced mobility.
Where to apply