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IAA Records Loss; Issues Operator Certificate To Drone Delivery Firm

Published on May 26 2021 11:09 AM in General Industry tagged: Trending Posts / Irish Aviation Authority / IAA / Manna Aero

IAA Records Loss; Issues Operator Certificate To Drone Delivery Firm

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has recorded a loss for 2020.

According to The IAA's annual report, the authority experienced a pre-tax loss of €164,000 last year, which followed a profit of €32.86 million in 2019.

The IAA's loss after tax last year was €876,000, which followed a post-tax profit of €27.804 million in 2019.

According to the authority's annual report, the IAA's turnover decreased to €155.509 million in 2020 from €197.228 million in 2019 and its operating profit decreased to €2.067 million last year from €31.885 million in 2019.

IAA Statement

The IAA stated on its website, "The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) reported an operating loss, after tax, of [approximately] €0.9 million [for 2020]. 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 one in 2020.

"Turnover was down to [approximately] €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."

IAA Chairman Statements

In a statement published on the IAA's website that was made at the IAA's AGM, which was held virtually this year, IAA chairman Rose Hynes 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."

Hynes continued, "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 rollout and as part of a wider travel strategy aligned with the rest of Europe, a sustainable restart 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."

Hynes added, "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 airspaces in Europe and aim to play a leadership role, in line with government policy, in driving aviation sustainability in the future."

IAA Chief Executive Statement

In a statement also published on the IAA's website, IAA chief executive Peter Kearney 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 well-being. A restart 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."

Additional IAA Statement And Aviation Regulator/CEO Designate Of The Regulator Statement

The IAA added on its website, "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.”

Ó Conghaile said in a statement published on the IAA's website, "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."

Additional Statistics And Information

Additionally, as reported by The Irish Times, Kearney said that the IAA's cash funds and short-term deposits decreased by €62.8 million to €169.8 million last year; the number of people employed by the IAA increased from 714 to 725 last year; payroll costs decreased from €93.5 million to €90.7 million; Kearney's salary decreased from €225,000 to €217,000; his remuneration package amounted to €312,000 after pension contributions of €81,000 and other taxable benefits of €14,000 are taken into account; shareholder funds amounted to €194.93 million at the end of 2020; and the company is availing of the government's Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, and €1.79 million was the amount due in respect of 2020.

As reported by The Irish Times, the loss for 2020 takes account of €10.3 million of non-cash depreciation charges and €6.49 million of Met Éireann charges.

Manna Aero "Light UAS Operator Certificate"

In other IAA-related news, the authority has issued a "light UAS operator certificate" to Irish drone delivery operator Manna Aero.

The IAA stated on its website, "The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has today issued its first 'light UAS operator certificate' (LUC) to Manna Aero, the Irish drone delivery operator. Manna Aero was the first company to apply for a LUC, following their recent trials of drone delivery services in rural Ireland. Their successful application follows a rigorous assessment of their operational capabilities in line with the new EU drone regulations, which came into force at the start of the year.

"The LUC is recognised in all EU member states and provides drone operators with significant business opportunities across the single market."

Ó Conghaile Statement

In a statement published on the IAA's website, Ó Conghaile said, "The light UAS operator certificate is a very exciting development in EU regulatory terms and provides Irish companies like Manna Aero with access to a potential European market of over half a billion customers. Drone services are an important part of the green technology mix in Europe and provide a competitive alternative to traditional service delivery. Our ambition for the new IAA is to facilitate UAS innovation and competitiveness with the highest safety and security standards, ultimately providing benefits to consumers at the end of the supply chain."

Manna Drone Delivery CEO Statement

In a statement also published on the IAA's website, Manna Drone Delivery CEO Bobby Healy said, "This achievement marks the culmination of our two year engagement with the IAA and is a strong endorsement for Manna, the nascent European drone delivery industry, and Ireland as a tech-epicentre for drone technology. We thank EASA and IAA for their vision and leadership, our delivery partners, and of course our wonderful trial customers in Oranmore and Moneygall for helping us to get this far."

"Light UAS Operator Certificate" Information

Explaining what a "light UAS operator certificate" is, the IAA stated on its website, "A 'light UAS operator certificate' (LUC) is an organisational approval certificate which assigns certain privileges to a drone operator. When the IAA is satisfied that the LUC applicant has demonstrated all the necessary capabilities, it issues the certificate and assign privileges to the drone operators based on their level of maturity. The privileges may allow the organisation to self-authorise operations, removing the requirement to obtain a prior authorisation. The privileges may be one or more of the following:

  • conduct operations covered by standard scenarios without submitting a declaration;
  • self-authorise operations conducted by the drone operator and covered by a pre-defined risk assessment;
  • self-authorise all operations conducted by the drone operator without applying for an authorisation."

Earlier News About Manna Aero Applying For A "Light UAS Operator Certificate"

The above news about the IAA issuing a "light UAS operator certificate" to Manna Aero follows news from earlier this year that Manna Aero was the first company that applied for the certficate, following trials of drone delivery services in rural Ireland.

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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