Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Questions (294)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

423 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Transport if, in view of the fact that the Aviation Authority has clarified that the responsibility for proposed EU legislation concerning the flight and duty time limitations is a matter for his Department, he will ensure that the Pilots Association's concerns, that it is the scientifically accepted proposals, which are put before the Council of Transport Ministers. [2757/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

The responsibility for preparing proposals for European law rests with the European Commission rather than with the country that has responsibility for the Presidency. The European Commission will shortly be making a proposal for legislation to harmonise the technical requirements and administrative procedures in the field of civil aviation, which will include proposals for flight and duty time limitations. While Ireland has the Presidency, we will facilitate discussion of this matter.

As I have stated in replies to previous questions on this subject, the day to day oversight of aviation safety falls within the responsibility of the Irish Aviation Authority. The Department will liaise closely with Irish Aviation Authority safety experts prior to adopting a position on the proposal. When making a policy decision on a matter of aviation safety, I am guided by the advice received from experts in the IAA. In so far as this proposal may lead to legislative changes, I assure the Deputy that I always give the highest priority to safety matters.