Thursday, 23 February 2006

Ceisteanna (49, 50)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

19 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for Defence if he continues to hold the view that allowing larger aircraft which could land and, more particularly, take off from Weston is undesirable, as their requisite flight path would compromise the safety of the flight paths currently used by the Air Corps into Baldonnel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7149/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

50 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for Defence if his Department has conducted, is currently conducting, or plans to conduct discussions with the management of Weston Aerodrome and the Irish Aviation Authority regarding a proposed change to the terms of its licence in view of the fact that alterations to flight patterns may impact on operations at Casement Aerodrome; if so, his views on changes from visual to instrument control, and in flight paths and airspace that may result from such a license alteration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7148/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 19 and 50 together.

The Irish Aviation Authority, under the aegis of the Department of Transport, is responsible for the safety regulation of Irish airspace. An airspace change proposal submitted to the Irish Aviation Authority by Weston Airport Limited in 2005 includes the use of instrument navigation aids to assist the arrival and departure of aircraft in accordance with instrument flight rules. Use of those landing aids would result in flight paths which would penetrate military airspace. The Irish Aviation Authority has convened a group, in which my Department and the Air Corps are represented, to examine the implications of the airspace change proposal. Discussions are ongoing.

My principal concern regarding Weston Aerodrome is the maintenance of safe and functional airspace in which military flight training and air operations can continue on a 24-hour basis. Changes in operations at Weston will require a risk assessment by the Air Corps to ensure that current levels of safety for military air operations are maintained or improved.

Question No. 20 answered with QuestionNo. 11.
Question No. 21 answered with QuestionNo. 9.