Varadkar to launch new aviation policy

Key legislation to assist aircraft finance likely to be become law by summer

Leo Varadkar published a draft bill that will adopt part of the Cape Town Convention

Leo Varadkar published a draft bill that will adopt part of the Cape Town Convention

Fri, Jan 24, 2014, 01:00

Transport minister, Leo Varadkar, will launch a new civil aviation policy for the Republic later this year that he says will cover everything from airports to the €19 billion aircraft finance sector.

Mr Varadkar told the Global Airfinance Conference in Dublin yesterday that he will publish a draft document – based on submissions from interested parties – outlining the new policy in coming weeks and will produce a final paper based on further consultation by the end of the year.

His office has already received over 100 submissions from various organisations, including airports, trade unions, pilot colleges and businesses involved in supplying the industry.

Speaking afterwards, the minister said that it will cover everything from State and regional airports, education and training and the aircraft maintenance business to promoting the Republic’s aviation finance sector, which is responsible for around €19 billion in transactions every year.

He also predicted that new legislation designed to underpin the Republic’s position in the leasing industry should become law before the Dáil takes its summer holidays in July.

Last year Mr Varadkar published a draft bill that will adopt part of the Cape Town Convention into Irish law.

The section provides that, in the case of an airline insolvency, the company has 60 days to pay any liabilities due on leased aircraft and engines, or it must return them to the lessor.

It gives added security to aircraft leasing companies, many of which are based here, against airlines defaulting on their debts. This in turn reduces their risks and makes it easier for lessors to raise money.

Mr Varadkar said that the bill should be published in the next couple of weeks and will then go before the Dáil and Seanad.

He added that he hoped both houses would pass it by the time that the Dáil rises for its summer recess.

The minister told the conference, organised by trade publication, Airfinance Journal, that the Government was well aware that other jurisdictions were keen to supplant the Republic as a centre for aircraft finance, but had not intention of letting them “eat our lunch”.

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