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IAA focuses on aviation re-start for summer 2021

27 Apr 2021

IAA focuses on aviation re-start for summer 2021 as COVID-19 caused a financial loss in 2020

  • IAA turnover in 2020 was €155,509 million 
  • Loss after tax was -€0.876 million  
  • IAA paid a dividend of €40,500 to the State shareholder
  • Aviation recovery and re-start later in summer 2021 a priority
  • IAA restructuring progressing in line with Air Navigation and Transport Bill 2020

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) reported an operating loss, after tax, of €0.9 million. This loss was a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on Irish aviation. There was a reduction of almost 60% in air traffic levels during 2020 - the IAA safely oversaw 498,000 flights, compared to 1.17 million in 2019. This reduction would have been worse were it not for a positive quarter 1 in 2020.

Turnover was down to €155.5 million in 2020 and the IAA paid a dividend of €40,500 to the State shareholder.

The IAA receives no operational or capital funding from the State. Its revenues are generated through charges and fees from the aviation industry, which are among the lowest in Europe

Speaking at the IAA AGM held virtually today, Ms. Rose Hynes, Chairman of the IAA said: 
“It was a key achievement of the Company in 2020 to have been able to continue to deliver its essential functions on behalf of the State – ANS/ATM services, safety regulation and security oversight – with no interruption and to the high standard that we expect, despite the pandemic. Playing its role in Ireland’s national response to the COVID-19 emergency, the IAA ensured that Ireland’s skies remained open for vital PPE, medical, food and other cargo supplies.”      

Focusing on an aviation recovery, Ms. Hynes said, “While the past year has been extremely challenging, the priority for the aviation and travel sectors must be a sustainable re-start in summer 2021. I know the Government is aware of the critical importance of aviation to the national economy and societal wellbeing.  In line with the vaccine roll-out and as part of a wider travel strategy aligned with the rest of Europe, a sustainable re-start roadmap commencing as soon as possible during the summer months should be prioritised.  The IAA will work with the Government and with the wider aviation industry, as COVID-19 risks reduce in the coming months.”

Ms. Hynes continued, “Sustainability is also an important priority for the IAA.  We will launch our Sustainability Management Plan later this year. We operate one of the most environmentally efficient airspace in Europe and aim to play a leadership role, in line with Government policy, in driving aviation sustainability in the future.”

Commenting on the annual report and financial results, Mr. Peter Kearney, Chief Executive of the IAA said:
“COVID-19 has effectively shut down the aviation industry and it will take some time before airlines return to full capacity again. As an island, Ireland relies on a strong aviation service for connectivity, economic growth and wellbeing. A re-start as soon as possible in summer 2021 will position us to save jobs and businesses and plan for a sustainable recovery from 2022 onwards.

Despite the impacts of the pandemic across our business in 2020, the IAA continued to deliver for our airline customers and passengers. We completed the fit-out of the new Air Traffic Control tower at Dublin airport and it will become operational in 2021. Our service excellence was also recognised globally as our lifesaving Aireon ALERT service was awarded the prestigious CANSO Global ATM Safety award for 2020. Since it was launched in 2019, many lives have been saved and over 80 rescue operations assisted thanks to the data provided from the operations centre in Ballygirreen, Co. Clare.”

The IAA’s safety regulatory and security oversight responsibilities continued to be delivered in an efficient and professional manner, supporting the Irish civil aviation industry in 2020.  Work continued on the digital transformation of regulatory services with ongoing progress on the IAA’s digitalisation project throughout 2020.

The Authority continued to prepare during 2020 for the restructuring of the company into two legal entities, as provided for in the Air Navigation and Transport Bill 2020. In this regard, Mr. Diarmuid Ó Conghaile joined the IAA in January 2021 as Aviation Regulator and as the CEO designate of the Regulator.  

Mr. Ó Conghaile said: 
“The Restructuring Programme currently underway, with the legislation now before the Oireachtas, will create a single aviation authority with responsibility for all aspects of aviation regulation, including safety and security, personnel licensing, travel trade and airline licensing, financial oversight, economic regulation, runway slot regulation and consumer protection, including arrangements for Passengers of Reduced Mobility. 

This structure represents a significant advance in our national approach to the sector, and will equip the regulator to facilitate and support the industry in its recovery from the unprecedented disruption of the pandemic and in meeting future challenges, including maintaining competitiveness and connectivity and meeting the environmental imperative.”

The full financial results and Annual Report 2020 can be found at