Dáil Éireann - Volume 395 - 01 February, 1990

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Airport Facilities.

10. Mr. G. O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport if he has any plans to upgrade automatic instrument landing facilities in (a) Dublin Airport (b) Cork Airport and (c) Shannon Airport in 1990; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

13. Mr. T. O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport if he is satisfied with air traffic control facilities in (a) Dublin Airport (b) Cork Airport and (c) Shannon Airport; if he has any proposals for improvements in these facilities in 1990; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

40. Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport the plans he has to improve air traffic control facilities at Cork Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Mr. S. Brennan: I propose to take Questions Nos. 10, 13 and 40 together.

I accept the need to upgrade the air traffic control facilities at the three State airports. The Air Navigation Services Office of my Department is currently engaged on a major equipment renewal programme at a cost of £30 million at all three State airports on new radar, communications and navigational aids.

Dublin Airport has instrument landing systems on three runways. At present all systems operate to Category 1 level — the basic level. From autumn this year, the ILS on the new runway will operate [486] to a level which will allow aircraft to land in adverse or minimal weather conditions.

Cork Airport has two instrument landing systems — one at each end of the main runway. Both systems at present operate to Category 1 level. One of the systems is being evaluated at present to allow aircraft to land when the cloud ceiling is down to 100 feet.

There is one instrument landing system at Shannon which can operate to basic Category 1 standard. The need for additional instrument landing systems at Shannon Airport is kept under continuous review by my Department.

I am very pleased with the progress being made to modernise the navigational, communications and radar systems at the State airports. The reequipment programme will be completed by 1992 and within budget. I am satisfied that the new air traffic control facilities, coupled with additional staff, will substantially expand the capacity of the Irish air traffic control system and further enhance aircraft operations within Irish airspace.

Mr. G. O'Sullivan: In regard to Cork Airport, is the Minister convinced that the installation of this equipment will eliminate the extra cost to tourists and business people because of over-flights from Cork which have happened at frequent intervals?

Mr. S. Brennan: I expect the new navigational equipment in Cork Airport to significantly reduce the number of diversions. The Deputy knows the airport is subject to a low cloud ceiling. I cannot be totally definitive about it for that reason; it is obviously a technical matter. I can tell the Deputy, however, that the installation of this equipment will significantly reduce the number of diversions.

Mr. G. O'Sullivan: Will it be completed by 1990 or does it go on to 1992?

Mr. S. Brennan: I am informed that [487] the work is progressing and that we should see an improvement in 1990.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Would the Minister agree that these air traffic control facilities would be greatly enhanced by being detached from his Department?

Mr. S. Brennan: The whole question of air traffic control is a major debate. The Deputy will be aware of public statements I have made complimenting the very fine staff who work in air traffic control under considerable pressure and also of my intention to review the structure of the air traffic control in full consultation with the staff involved. The whole question of its structure and its place within the public service is on my desk at the moment.