Published on June 15th, 2019 | by Mark Dwyer


Video: IAA Celebrates 100 years of Trans-Atlantic flight

This week, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has been celebrating the centenary of transatlantic flight; the remarkable achievement of aviators John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown, 100 years on from their ground-breaking transatlantic flight in a Vickers Vimy aircraft from Newfoundland, Canada to the Derrigimlagh Bog, near Clifden in Connemara. The IAA salutes these extraordinary pioneers who inspired generations to take to the skies.

Ever since this flight, Ireland has been at the centre of not only transatlantic flight, but also at the centre of global aviation.  The IAA now manages around 90% of transatlantic air traffic and last year this represented over half a million flights, both within Irish airspace and over the North Atlantic Ocean. The IAA provides air traffic management services in the 451,000 km2 of airspace controlled by Ireland and handles over 1 million flights per year safely across these skies.

Peter Kearney, Chief Executive of the IAA said, “This week is very significant for aviation globally and again Ireland is at the centre of this focus.  We carry on the tradition today set by pioneers such as Alcock and Brown, and while aviation has changed beyond recognition since those early days, Ireland’s strategic importance remains the same. Today, flying is considered the safest mode of transport and the IAA plays a vital part in ensuring the safety of transatlantic flight. We are very proud of our air traffic controllers and communications officers who continue to provide world-class services to aviators and airlines, and we look forward to the next 100 years of aviation in Ireland and across the North Atlantic.”

Transatlantic air navigation and communications began with Shannon Aeradio, founded in 1936 to provide a communication service for flying boats which commenced flying the North Atlantic in 1937 from Foynes in Co. Limerick. Today, the IAA’s North Atlantic Communications facility in Ballygirreen, Co Clare provides communications services to over 90% of all North-Atlantic flights, while the IAA safely manages air traffic at the intersection of Irish controlled airspace and oceanic airspace.

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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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