Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (265)

Eamon Ryan

Question:

406 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport if an aircraft citation jet with a call sign N379P has been given permission for landing and take-off at Shannon Airport within the past four years. [25160/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

In accordance with the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, aircraft may come into Ireland for technical stops such as for refuelling purposes, as this aircraft has done, without notifying the Department of Transport, and no notification about this aircraft was received by my Department.

However, as I indicated in an earlier reply to a parliamentary question on 7 October 2004, my Department has been informed by Shannon Airport management that this particular aircraft, number N379P, owned by Premier Executive Transport Services, a small US airline, has used Shannon airport 13 times in the past five years, 2000 to 2004. The aircraft has not used any other Irish airport. Each landing was a technical stop, that is, for refuelling or other technical reasons. On no occasion did any passengers join or leave the flight at Shannon.

The aircraft used Shannon once in each year of 2000, 2001, in September of that year, and 2003, and ten times in 2002, and not at all so far in 2004. On these occasions the aircraft was routed from Shannon to airports or airbases in the UK, USA, or Canada.

Furthermore, I understand that the US authorities have confirmed to the Department of Foreign Affairs that prisoners are not being transported through Irish airports to Guantanamo or elsewhere. The US side also confirms that it would not seek to use Irish airports for this purpose in the future without seeking the authorisation of the Irish authorities.