IAA warns of Brexit hit to Irish airports

Aviation concerns need to be at the forefront of Ireland’s Brexit negotiations, with regulation changes arising from the UK leaving the EU potentially hampering Irish airport growth in the coming years, says the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

The authority yesterday reported combined commercial flight growth of nearly 4% at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports in January with each seeing individual growth of 4% to 6%.

The UK accounts for over 60% of capacity from Shannon, Kerry and Knock and over 40% from Dublin. While Ryanair recently warned Brexit will significantly lessen the number of UK tourists visiting Ireland, the authority said the terms of the UK’s exit deal could be damaging also.

“Air connectivity all over the world is based on air- service agreements and once the UK leaves the EU a new air-service agreement will have to be put in place between the EU27 and the UK.

"If that agreement constrains the ability to fly easily between Ireland and the UK, or for Irish airlines to operate freely around the EU, then that will be bad for the Irish economy in general,” said IAA chief Eamonn Brennan.

“It looks like we are heading for a hard Brexit so it’s really vital that aviation is at the forefront of the negotiations from an Irish perspective.

"Brexit does offer some opportunities to Ireland, such as increasing the attractiveness to transit through Ireland to north America rather than the UK and our airports will be seeking to capitalise on that, but in broader terms a hard Brexit will be difficult for the Irish civil aviation industry,” he said.

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