Written answers

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Department of Defence

Ministerial Transport

8:00 pm

Photo of Margaret ConlonMargaret Conlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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Question 114: To ask the Minister for Defence the number and type of Air Corps aircraft used by the ministerial air transport service; the way the hourly direct and total costs are calculated; the cost headings used to calculate direct and total costs; the cost headings which are fixed and which are variable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17652/09]

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Minister, Department of Defence; Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
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The Ministerial Air Transport Service is primarily provided by the Gulfstream IV and Learjet 45 jet aircraft, which were specifically acquired for that purpose. Until recently, the Beechcraft Super King Air 200 turbo-prop aircraft was also used as a back up aircraft for short and medium haul Ministerial Air Transport missions, in addition to its primary pilot training role. The 2 x CASA maritime patrol aircraft are used infrequently for Ministerial Air Transport missions where no MATS aircraft are available for operational or technical reasons.

There are a total of 8 military helicopters in operational service with the Air Corps at present, comprising 6 x AW139 utility helicopters and 2 x EC135 P2 light utility helicopters. These helicopters are used from time to time for ministerial air transport in situations where, for operational reasons, fixed wing aircraft may not be available, the point of destination may not be close to an airport and in circumstances where there is a requirement for greater flexibility than can be delivered by fixed wing aircraft.

My Department follows the normal practice in the aviation business of costing aircraft by reference to the average cost per flying hour. This is done under either of two headings:

The direct cost, i.e. the costs which are additional to those associated with having the aircraft and which only arise when the aircraft is flown. These include maintenance, technical requirements, fuel and support services; and

The total cost, i.e. the direct cost plus the costs associated with having the aircraft, i.e. depreciation and personnel costs.

The fixed costs are those which arise from having the aircraft regardless of whether it is flown or not. These include depreciation and personnel costs. The variable costs are those impacted by the level of activity of the aircraft, i.e. the hours flown. Such costs include maintenance, fuel and support services. The costs associated with Air Corps aircraft used in the provision of the Ministerial Air Transport Service are as follows:

AircraftAverage Direct Cost Per Hour â'¬Average Total Cost Per Hour â'¬
Gulfstream4,0507,890
Learjet1,2702,950
Beechcraft1,3201,770
CASA1,3352,821
EC 1354301,590
AW 1391,4703,130

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