Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (37, 61, 62, 64)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

37. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if there are concerns regarding the manpower shortages in the Air Corps relating to the service level agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32125/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

61. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of flights per day per aircraft in the Air Corps for the first six months of 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32123/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

62. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of flights per aircraft in the Air Corps in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32124/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

64. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if there are restrictions in air traffic control due to staff shortages; if this limits the Air Corps service level agreements with other State bodies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32127/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 37, 61, 62 and 64 together.

The Deputy will be aware that the Air Corps is experiencing a shortage of specialised personnel, including Air Traffic Control (ATC) personnel, which has necessitated a reduction in operating hours of the Air Traffic Control Service in Baldonnel.

Where a Service Level Agreement is in place with other Government Departments, those Departments have been kept informed of the situation in relation to impacts, if any, on service. Notwithstanding this, ATC is available outside operating hours when dealing with matters of State security. ATC is also activated for certain pre-planned out of hours operations on a case by case basis.

While it is not yet possible to state definitively when 24-hour operations will resume, actions are underway to return to previous levels of ATC services.

Operational outputs of the Air Corps including Aid to Civil Power, Aid to Civil Authority, Emergency Aeromedical Support Service, Ministerial Air Transport and Sea Fisheries Maritime Patrols are reported in the Defence Organisation's Annual Reports. The Air Corps also carries out a significant amount of flight training on a daily basis. The Deputy will appreciate that, for security reasons, it would not be appropriate to itemise the details or number of flights in the manner sought.