NBAA raises alarm over potential ban on GA flights at Dublin

NBAA recently appealed to the US Ambassador to Ireland and the Irish Ambassador to the US regarding a threatened ban on general aviation (GA) aircraft, including business aviation, at Dublin Airport (DUB).

Total passenger traffic at the airport is expected to surpass the current annual cap of 32 million in 2024. Although an increase to 40 million passengers annually is under deliberation, the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has also proposed a ban on all non-scheduled, “ad hoc” flights, which includes business aviation, to the airport to keep passenger counts within the current limit.

In essence, this action by the DAA will result in no business aviation flights being allowed to fly in or out of Dublin Airport until planning is secured to increase passenger capacity, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen wrote to US Ambassador Claire Cronin and Irish Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason.

On average it takes two years for a planning decision such as this to be reached meaning it is likely that the limit will be breached well before planning is granted, he continued. As such, the DAA is proposing an effective ban on all business flights in and out of Dublin Airport.

Bolen emphasized NBAA’s work with the Irish Business and General Aviation Association (IGBAA) to inform government officials about the importance of business aviation on the Emerald Isle, most notably its vital role in supporting US-based companies operating in Ireland.

For US companies employing thousands of Irish citizens, business aviation is a foundational tool for competing in a global marketplace, remaining productive during travel time, and connecting small towns and communities, he continued. It is no exaggeration to say that the ban being proposed by the DAA will greatly hinder Irelands attractiveness as a location for Foreign Direct Investment.

The industry also supports hundreds of additional jobs in Ireland, Bolen added, which would be threatened should authorities curtail business aviation flights to Dublin.

While both NBAA and IGBAA are hopeful the passenger cap at EIDW will be raised to 40 million, the groups also have suggested an alternative to allocate 20,000 passengers from the current 32 million cap specifically to business aviation.

This represents a mere 0.0625% of the passenger limit, Bolen noted, maintaining access to Ireland and the Dublin area for business aviation, which brings substantial economic and commercial benefits while still adhering to the 32 million cap.

The proposed GA ban at Dublin Airport is the latest in a series of proposals across Europe to curtail business aviation operations. In May 2023, the French government imposed a cap on aircraft flights between domestic destinations accessible within a 2.5-hour train ride, with specific focus on business aviation. A similar effort to ban business jets at Amsterdams Schiphol Airport was suspended late last year.