Published on March 20th, 2017 | by Mark Dwyer


Stable Air Traffic Performance in February

The IAA have released figures for total air traffic handled in Irish airspace which grew by 1.2% (or 71,883 movements) in February 2017 compared to the same month in 2016. February 2016 also had an extra day as 2016 was a leap year. There was an increase of 3.2% in Ireland’s overflight traffic movements to 21,701 (flights, which do not land in Ireland) during February 2017, in comparison to February 2016. The IAA’s analysis of North Atlantic Communications flights (Europe /US Flights) saw an increase of 3.6% 31,390 in February 2017, when compared to February 2016.

In relation to international arrivals and departures, the total commercial terminal traffic for Shannon, Dublin and Cork airports was virtually static when compared to February 2016 (down by just 0.1%) – the impact of fewer days in February 2017 had an impact on the figures. Individually, the February 2017 figures for the three State airports, show that commercial terminal flights performance as follows:

  • Dublin down by 0.1% with an average of 503 daily commercial movements.
  • Cork down by 6.2%, with an average of 44 commercial daily movements.
  • Shannon up by 7.7% with an average of 43 commercial daily movements.

The IAA’s monthly analysis of delays from Air Traffic Flow Regulations, indicates that there were 194 aircraft delayed during the month of February. Of these delays, 7.2% were related to weather conditions and 92.8% to aerodrome capacity issues.  Ireland has traditionally one of the lowest levels of en-route and airport delays in Europe due to Air Traffic Flow Regulation and the IAA continues to proactively manage these delays to ensure they remain at a low level.

IAA Wins Prestigious EU SES Award for Remote Towers Trial

IAA CEO Eamonn Brennan pictured with Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport

The IAA has been awarded a prestigious EU Single European Sky Award for the success of its recent Remote Tower trials. The announcement was made by Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport and Henrik Hololei, European Commission Director General at DG MOVE at a ceremony held on 7th March during the World ATM Congress in Madrid.

The IAA has successfully completed operational trials on remote tower technology. In 2016, the IAA, along with a consortium of stakeholders, validated the SESAR JU concept of remote tower technology through a series of operational trials (based on over 50 demonstrations). These highly successful trials built upon the experience of single remote tower operations and validated the capability for single air traffic controller operation of multiple remote towers. (See Here).

IAA Chief Executive, Eamonn Brennan said “Air travel is expected to double in the next 20 years across the globe and I firmly believe that air traffic services have to continue to innovate. As a result of our remote tower trials, we have proved that tower services at multiple airports can be safely provided by a single air traffic controller remotely. We believe this work represents the world’s first trial of multiple tower remote operation’s by a single air traffic controller.”

Billy Hann, General Manager of Terminal Services Dublin, Peter Kearney, IAA Director ATM Operation & Strategy, Eamonn Brennan, IAA CEO, Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport and Henrik Hololei, European Commission Director General.

He added that, “The IAA has a strong tradition of being innovative to deliver cost efficiency, improved safety and higher productivity levels.  With this in mind, we are delighted with the outcome of our recent Remote Tower technology trials and we are extremely honoured to have secured this award from the EC. This is a great endorsement of our hard work, our findings and the great work of the IAA team.”

In March 2016, the IAA completed the system installation, which was supplied by Saab. This was composed of three main elements:

  • Remote towers, sensors and cameras at Cork and Shannon airports,
  • A Remote Tower Centre in Dublin, and finally
  • Network connectivity between the remote sites at Shannon and Cork and the Centralised Control Room in Dublin.

From June to August 2016, the IAA worked to validate the system through operational trials, which tested the bounds of remote tower technology. Trials started with low volume traffic levels to emulate night-time operations at Shannon and Cork. Traffic levels were then progressively increased throughout the trials to investigate the level of air traffic that can be safely handled. These trials validated that single controller operation of multiple remote towers in a live air traffic environment.

The ATC centre in Dublin Airport went green for St. Patrick’s Day 2017

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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