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Stakeholder and Customer Update: COVID-19

18 Mar 2020

Irish Aviation Authority (IAA)

Update to stakeholders and customers regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Dear Customers and Stakeholders,

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all areas of life and business here in Ireland and globally.  Our priority in the IAA is the health and safety of our staff, playing our role in the national effort to overcome COVID-19 and maintaining our services to our customers and stakeholders.

This is a hugely uncertain time for the aviation sector with the grounding of flights across Europe and beyond.  We are monitoring the situation very closely and can assure the public that we are doing everything possible to ensure our front-line teams can continue to provide an ATM and regulatory service to our customers when they need it.

The IAA is doing all in its power to assist the national effort to contain and delay the spread of COVID-19.  We have implemented measures in response to Government and HSE advice, including self-isolation of staff who have returned from affected regions overseas, remote working for staff where possible, social distancing and restrictions on visitors to IAA facilities.  We will continue to be guided by the healthcare experts, who are in the front line of this pandemic and who we all owe a huge debt of gratitude.  

1. IAA Services

I can assure you, our customers and stakeholders, that we are doing everything that we can to deliver services across all aspects of our business while protecting against the spread of the virus.  Safety Regulatory Services (IAA SRD)
We are operating all of our regulatory services.  There are some constraints due to travel and public visitor restrictions.  The following is advised:
  • All external site visits or inspections will continue and be arranged by prior appointment only, until further notice;
  • The public licencing office at the IAA’s HQ remains closed until further notice. Arrangements are in place to ensure continuance of service to licence holders;
  • All other regulatory services continue to operate as normal.  Stakeholders are advised that there may be some delay in processing phone calls, emails and other paperwork as a result of the requirement for staff to work-from-home;
  • Operators involved in commercial air transport operations of passengers are advised of the EASA Safety Directive SD No: 2020-01, issued 13 March 2020 (ad.easa.europa.eu/ad/SD-2020-01).

Air Navigation and Air Traffic Management Services (IAA ANSP)
We are operating a full ANS and ATM service to all flights operating in controlled airspace.  The following is advised:

  • A full service is currently being provided at Dublin, Shannon and Cork airport (reduced movements compared to normal);
  • A full en-route service (overflights) and North Atlantic Communications service is being provided;
  • A full AIS service is being provided;
  • The IAA is monitoring traffic levels daily and working closely with our airline customers to ensure our service meets their expectations.
The IAA will continue to provide the appropriate level of service to our customers, depending on the level of demand and subject to the availability of staff.  We are aware that the level of flights will reduce sharply in late March and into April and we are planning for this scenario. Contingency plans are also in place in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 amongst IAA operational staff.

2. Contingency arrangements

The impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to evolve in the coming weeks in Ireland and internationally.  We know that air traffic levels will decline sharply with the majority of remaining flights being cargo flights, medevac flights and emergency flights.  We will be available 24/7 to provide ANS and ATM services to those flights operating both in Ireland and overflights in Irish controlled airspace.

While we have introduced measures to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 there is a high likelihood that some of our staff will contract the virus. We have planned multiple layers of contingency to ensure that we manage an outbreak as safely as possible for our staff and as efficiently as possible to enable the continuation of our services.  We have made appropriate arrangements for service continuity as the situation evolves.  In this regard, I want to public thank our staff who are making significant commitments in the national and public interest.

3. Travel Restrictions

There are now a significant number of travel restrictions in place across Europe and internationally.  The IAA is facilitating the repatriation of Irish people.  We urge passengers to stay up to date with travel restrictions and to limit travel to essential travel only, in line with the Irish Government’s advice.  

Please refer to the Department of Foreign Affairs website (www.dfa.ie) for the most up to date travel information, as the situation remains changeable at this time.

Finally, I want to thank you, our customers and stakeholders, for your continued support through this difficult period and to assure you that we stand in solidarity with all those affected in the aviation industry.  As an industry, I firmly believe that we will get through this difficult period. However, the most immediate priority is to contain the spread of COVID-19 and the IAA will play its role in supporting this effort to protect the health and safety of citizens not only in Ireland but across the world.  Please stay safe and abide by the Irish Government’s advice in the coming weeks and months.  

The IAA will update this notice periodically to keep our customers and stakeholders informed as appropriate over the course of this crisis period.

Yours Sincerely,

Peter Kearney
Chief Executive, Irish Aviation Authority

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