The Minister for Transport, Sport and Tourism Shane Ross, T.D. has today published a Policy Statement on Airport Charges. This Policy Statement sets out revised Government policy on how airport charges are regulated for Dublin Airport.
Speaking on the matter the Minister said: “I am delighted the Government has agreed to reform how prices are set at Dublin Airport, placing consumers’ interests first. Dublin Airport is vital for tourism and trade, and it is also instrumental in securing investment. This revision of airport charges – on foot of a commitment made in the Government’s A National Aviation Policy for Ireland, 2015 – strengthens the hand of the Commission for Aviation Regulation in pursuing its goal to protect the interests of the airport’s customers – including business people and tourists.
Under the regulatory oversight of the Commission for Aviation Regulation, and with the support of Ryanair and Aer Lingus in particular, Dublin Airport is now a highly connected modern international airport. The new price regime will build on that progress but, importantly, it will place the consumers’ interests firmly ahead of the ambitions of a state utility.”
Link to National Policy Statement
Note to Editors
The maximum price that the daa can charge airlines for the use of Dublin Airport is capped by the Commission for Aviation Regulation (www.aviationreg.ie) on a per passenger basis every five years. The current maximum per passenger price is €9.86. The Commission also sets performance targets for service quality levels which the daa is obliged to meet.
The Policy Statement explains the Government’s revised regulatory policy on price setting for Dublin Airport, which will involve changes to current law, as set out in the Aviation Regulation Act, 2001. These changes will be made by way of primary legislation, which the Minister has asked his Department to start work on.
The revised policy was informed by a detailed, independent economic analysis by Indecon (consultancy) and by an extensive public and industry consultation. As is always the way, the consultation threw up very different opinions and ideas, ranging from arguing for no regulation at all, to lighter regulation and to satisfaction with the current approach. In finalising the policy the Minister placed a strong emphasis on the evidence and recommendations coming from the independent economic analysis, but also on good ideas from stakeholders about how to improve the overall regulatory engagement.
Among the proposed changes will be removing the legal provision for the Minister for Transport to issue ministerial directions to the Regulator on matters related to its price setting decisions. This will serve to enhance the independence of the Regulator.
There are also a number of proposed amendments which taken together make consumer interests the most important consideration for the Regulator in determining future price caps at Dublin airport.
Finally, the Policy Statement sets out the Minister’s intention to restructure economic, safety and security regulation in the aviation sector. Currently, price regulation and consumer interests (holiday makers and other airline passengers) is the responsibility of the Commission for Aviation Regulation, and aviation safety and security regulation (licencing and inspection) is the responsibility of the Irish Aviation Authority, which also provides profit-making air traffic control services on a commercial basis. The Minister intends to separate the regulatory function of the IAA from its commercial activities in air traffic control and merge it with the Commission for Aviation Regulation to create a single, independent aviation regulator. The IAA will continue to deliver air traffic control services and perhaps explore new commercial and development opportunities in the aviation sector.