Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (613, 614, 615)

Dara Calleary

Question:

624 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Defence the number of times Defence Forces helicopters were used to transport dignitaries, excluding Government Ministers, in Ireland for 2011 and to date in 2012 in tabular form. [34893/12]

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Dara Calleary

Question:

628 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Defence the cost relating to each of the trips in 2011 and to date in 2012 in which Defence Forces helicopters were used to transport dignitaries, excluding Government Ministers here, in tabular form. [34897/12]

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Dara Calleary

Question:

629 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Defence the use by dignitaries excluding Government Ministers of the Government jet or other aircraft in 2011 and to date in 2012; and the estimated cost for each journey in tabular form. [34898/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 624, 628 and 629 together.

Air Corps aircraft have been used on one occasion only in the period in question to transport dignitaries, excluding Government Ministers. This was to provide transport for the British Ambassador and support staff during the State visit of Queen Elizabeth II in May 2011. Details of usage are set out in the tabular statement below:

AW139 (From 1 January 2011 to date)

Date

Aircraft

Time On Board

Route

Passengers

20/05/2011

AW139

125

Farmleigh — Cashel — Coolmore — Cork — Baldonnel

British Ambassador and support staff.

In relation to costs, my Department follows the normal practice in the aviation business of costing aircraft by reference to the cost per flying hour under each of two headings:

The direct cost, which includes costs which are additional to those associated with having the aircraft and which only arise when the aircraft is flown including maintenance, fuel and support services such as catering costs, cleaning services and airport handling charges.

The total cost, which is the direct cost plus the costs associated with having the aircraft including depreciation and personnel costs.

Details of the hourly costs under each heading, which are applicable to both 2011 and 2012, for the aircraft in question are contained in the tabular statement below:

Average Direct Cost Per Hour €

Average Total Cost Per Hour €

AW139

1,410

3,410

It should be noted that these are average costs which take a number of variables into account. It is not possible to assign an exact cost to any particular mission.

Questions Nos. 625 to 627, inclusive, answered with Question No. 623.