The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar, has announced plans to develop the first ever civil aviation policy for Ireland at the Aviation Policy for Ireland conference in the Convention Centre, Dublin.
Over 400 delegates are today attending the Aviation Policy for Ireland conference organised by the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport and the Irish Aviation Authority.
Speaking at the conference, Minister Varadkar said: ‘The aviation sector is critically important to a small open economy like Ireland. It provides direct employment for 20,000 people and indirect employment for many more’.
“As an island, air access is vital for our tourism industry, our exports, and our relationship with the rest of the world. Ireland has a very long and proud tradition in aviation with many of our companies recognised as world-leaders in their fields.”
The conference is being attended by representatives from all parts of the aviation sector and many associated industries and services in Ireland and by representatives from some international organisations including:
• Eamonn Brennan, CEO, Irish Aviation Authority;
• Sean Flannery, Executive Vice President GE Capital Aviation Services;
• Christoph Mueller, CEO Aer Lingus;
• Michael O’Leary, CEO Ryanair;
• Colm McCarthy, Economist UCD;
• Conor McCarthy, Executive Chairman, Dublin Aerospace;
• Peter O’Neill, President, American Chamber of Commerce Ireland;
• Jim Wolfe, General Manager of Air Traffic Policy, Department of Infrastructure & Transport, Australia;
• Brian Pearce, Chief Economist, International Air Transport Association;
• Olivier Jankovic, Director General, Airports Council International Europe.
The conference is the first stage in the development of a national aviation policy. This new policy will be designed to expand the Irish aviation industry, make it more competitive, and tackle barriers to growth.
“I want to ensure that overall Government policy supports the industry and promotes growth. That’s why I’m launching this process to develop a meaningful policy framework, supported by the industry, and which allows us to plan for the future of this vital industry,” Minister Varadkar said.
The Minister said consultations will take place with the industry throughout 2013 with the aim of publishing a policy framework in early 2014.
The business of aviation is the business of safety, said Eamonn Brennan, Chief Executive of the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), sponsors of the joint conference.
“Safety is what underpins the aviation sector. There wouldn’t be an aviation industry without the highest levels of safety. The traveling public, the carriers, those who lease and invest in aircraft, they all need the assurance that the highest levels of safety are maintained. As the safety regulator, we are very proud that we are ranked third in the world in aviation safety by ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, above even such major players as the United States and most of Europe.”
Mr Brennan also highlighted the reputation that Ireland has in the aviation sector and the need to further capitalize on this reputation.
“We punch way above our weight in world aviation and we need to capitalize on that. Twenty five per cent of all aircraft leased in the world are leased out of Dublin. We are recognized innovators: we put together the first large aviation-leasing outfit in the world, GPA. We are home to the largest low-cost carrier in the world. We have driven some of the major innovations in engine technology, in maintenance, and in financing. We can capitalize further on the value of this vital sector.”