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Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) licencing fees up by 200%

Flying Ireland has reported that licensing fees from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) are to increase by as much as 200% in certain areas from previous rate last set in 2015.

The Irish aviation news outlet has analysed the IAA’s updated Schedule of Charges, specifically for Pilot Licensing, highlighting the original charges in the 2015 Fees Order versus the latest fees just published. Flying Ireland remarks that the new Schedule of Charges has “several significant mistakes and makes references to licences that have not existed since the introduction of EASA and no reference to EASA qualifications such as Flight Instructor Certificates”.

It adds that General Aviation appears to have been disproportionately affected with percentage increases into triple digits, which it says is “bound to have an impact on safety”.

* We’re assuming the IAA is actually referring to a Flight Instructor Certificate as defined in Subpart J of
the Aircrew Regulation ** There is a contradiction in this section where it indicates an initial issue of a Flight Instructor Rating [Certificate] is the same as a renewal/revalidation however earlier in the document a Flight Instructor Rating [Certificate] cost is €720.

Flying Ireland goes on to explain that, as is the case for the UK CAA, following changes to the Air Navigation and Transport Act in 2022 the IAA now receives no State funding and is expected to make its cost recovery through a ‘user pays’ principal.

This new cost recovery mechanism follows a splitting up of the IAA Safety Regulation Division (SRD) and the IAA Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), which are now two separate entities. According to Flying Ireland, on 01 May 2023 the ANSP became AirNav Ireland, a commercial semi-State owned company with the Irish Minister of Transport remaining the only shareholder of both companies.

Flying Ireland adds that the Minister, and by extension, the Government is the main beneficiary here, as they will take higher profits from AirNav Ireland due to no longer being required to provide funding to the Regulator as has historically been the case since the IAA was established in 1994.

Flying Ireland adds: “It’s worth pointing out that all EASA licences are equal and licence holders are
entitled to transfer their state of licence issue to any EASA state. There’s no requirement to be resident in
that state. For example, the biggest nationality holding Irish pilot licences is actually British. There are also
a significant number of Italian nationals holding Irish issued EASA licences.

The fees vary significantly across the EU, for example, the issue of an EASA PPL in Malta is just €116.47 compared to an Irish charge of €420 (+260%) and an Instructor Certificate is also €116.47 compared to an Irish charge of €720 (+518%).”

At first glance there also appears to be significant discrepancies between the UK CAA’s and IAA’s charging
schemes, with little alignment visible, despite both now apparently operating under the same cost recovery, user pays principal. For example, the UK continues to lead the world in commercial pilot flight test fees with a CPL or IR flight test fee shortly to break the £1,000 mark (subject to the current 2024-2025 charging proposals going ahead as planned), while the IAA’s equivalent fee is almost half that at €660 (£565).

In other areas though it appears to be the other way around. An IAA-licensed flight instructor, for example, will now have to pay an eye watering €720 (£616) to have their licence revalidated once every three years, while a UK CAA-licensed instructor only has to pay £140 (€164).

For what presumably amounts to roughly the same amount of time and paperwork, it would appear that Aviation Regulators operating under a cost recovery basis (as opposed to being State supported, which is the case for many other European Aviation Regulators) have wildly differing views as to what their licence processing costs really are.

EASA licensed pilots registered with the IAA are of course at liberty to change their State of Licence Issue (SOLI) to an alternative EASA Member State if they wish to in light of the charge increases, but for UK licence holders the CAA retains its monopoly.

While the CAA continues to claim transparency and openness in its Scheme of Charges, referencing the fact that it consults with industry each year on proposed changes, the fact remains that in certain areas charges continue to be set at levels that appear to be disproportionate to the workload involved, and it would seem that the IAA’s charges are headed in a similar direction.

Flying Ireland comparison table

Author: FTN Editor

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