Written Answers. - Air Navigation Regulations.

John Gormley

Question:

275 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Transport the number of letters which were sent from his Department in January 2003 to commercial passenger airlines transiting through Shannon Airport informing these airlines of Government regulations regarding the carrying of arms, ammunition, explosives and munitions; the nationality of these airlines; the number of airlines and which airlines have requested specific exemptions from these regulations; when these exemptions were requested; the number of these exemptions which have been agreed to by him and for which airlines; the number which have been refused; the reasons therefor and for which airlines; if similar letters were sent to commercial airlines in respect of cargo planes transiting Shannon Airport; if not, the reason therefor; if so, the exemptions which were sought or given; the names and nationalities of these airlines; the nature of the cargo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3013/03]

On 17 January 2003, eleven airlines were contacted to remind them of their obligation to seek exemption from the provisions of Sections 6 and 7 of the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Order 1973, as amended by Section 5 of the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous goods (Amendment)(Order) 1989, if they wished to carry munitions of war through Irish airspace. The airlines were chosen because of their prior involvement in the carriage of weapons or munitions or military personnel.

Of those eleven airlines, three were British, one Swiss and seven were American. Of those eleven airlines, one British and three American have sought exemptions on various dates since the reminder to them on 17 January. I do not consider it is appropriate for me to name the airlines involved, for security reasons. Forty-four exemptions have been granted for all of the month of January 2003. I have not refused to grant any applications for exemptions in January 2003.

Of the eleven airlines contacted on 17 January, two were exclusively cargo operators. One of these was British and one American. To date neither have sought exemptions.