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Aircraft

Aircraft register

What are the requirements for entry in the domestic aircraft register?

Statutory Instrument 107/2015 (Irish Aviation Authority (Nationality and Registration of Aircraft) Order 2015) sets out the requirements for entry into the Irish Aviation Authority’s (IAA’s) register of civil aircraft.

Subject to certain exceptions, an aircraft shall not be registered by the IAA unless it is owned by:

  • an Irish person;
  • a non-Irish person from another EU member state whose main place of business or residence is in Ireland; or
  • a company incorporated in Ireland with its main place of business in Ireland or another EU member state and with no fewer than two-thirds of its directors Irish or EU citizens.

In addition to the ownership requirements, other particulars relating to the aircraft may be required (eg, the aircraft operator’s air operator certificate, an airworthiness review certificate, a certificate of airworthiness or historical records). Registration fees are calculated based on the maximum take-off weight of the individual aircraft.

An aircraft station licence is required for the possession and operation of radio equipment onboard Irish registered aircraft. Applications for aircraft station licences must be made to the Commission for Communications Regulation.

Mortgages and encumbrances

Is there a domestic register for aircraft mortgages, encumbrances and other interests? If so, what are the requirements and legal effects of registration?

The IAA does not register aircraft mortgages or interests in aircraft (or engines). It maintains a register of irrevocable deregistration and export request authorisation submissions pursuant to its obligations under the International Interests in Mobile Equipment (Cape Town Convention) Act 2005, which is the domestic legislation that enacted the Cape Town Convention and Aircraft Protocol in Ireland.

Charges – as defined in the Companies Act 2014 (which includes aircraft mortgages and other security interests) – granted by Irish companies are registrable with the Companies Registration Office within 21 days of the creation of the charge. Failure to register the particulars of the charge created with the Companies Registration Office in the prescribed format and within the applicable time period will render the charge void as against a liquidator and creditors of the relevant company. The Companies Registration Office operates a priority register with priority based on the time of filing.

If the aircraft mortgage constitutes an ‘international interest’ for the purposes of the Cape Town Convention and Aircraft Protocol, it should be registered with the International Registry as such against the applicable aircraft objects (ie, the airframe or engines, as applicable).

Detention

What rules and procedures govern the detention of aircraft?

The Air Navigation and Transport (Amendment) Act 1998 provides airport authorities in Ireland with the power to detain and sell aircraft in respect of which Irish airport charges are outstanding. The Irish airport authorities may also detain and sell other aircraft within their jurisdiction operated by the same defaulting operator in satisfaction of such charges. Further, pursuant to the Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) Act 1963, the IAA (acting as the agent of Eurocontrol) has the power to detain aircraft for unpaid Eurocontrol charges in Irish airspace. As above, the IAA may also detain and sell other aircraft within its jurisdiction operated by the same defaulting operator in satisfaction of such charges in certain circumstances. The powers of detention and sale bestowed upon the IAA for outstanding Eurocontrol charges relate solely to charges incurred by the operator or registered owner of the aircraft in the airspace under the control of the IAA.

In addition, certain liens can arise in Ireland by way of contractual agreement, or pursuant to common law or equitable principals.

Safety and maintenance

What rules and procedures govern aircraft safety and maintenance?

The IAA’s Safety Regulation Division oversees aviation safety and aircraft maintenance in Ireland. The IAA monitors and enforces safety standards in civil aviation in accordance with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and International Civil Aviation Organisation standards. The key rules governing aircraft operational safety and maintenance in Ireland are those contained in the:

  • EASA Basic Regulation;
  • EU Regulation 748/2012 (on initial airworthiness);
  • EU Regulation 1321/2014 (on continued airworthiness and maintenance);
  • EU Regulation 1178/2011 (on the regulation of aircrew);
  • EU Regulation 965/2012 (on technical requirements for air operations); and
  • EU Regulation 452/2014 (on the regulation of third-country air operators).

There are additional legislative rules applicable with respect to operational procedures for aerodromes and air navigation services.

The IAA’s responsibilities in aircraft safety extend to aircraft and maintenance organisation certification, the licensing of personnel, aircraft and aerodromes, the management of incident reporting and the oversight of operational standards of air carriers, in accordance with applicable legislation.

Drones

What is the state of regulation on unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) in your jurisdiction?

The Drones Order, which came into effect in Ireland in December 2015, sets out the registration requirements and permitted operations for unmanned aerial vehicles (ie, drones) in Irish airspace. In Ireland, drones weighing more than one kilogram are subject to mandatory registration. The Drones Order sets out the various restrictions and permitted operations for different classes of drone.

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