Written answers

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Department of Defence

Military Aircraft

Photo of Thomas PringleThomas Pringle (Donegal, Independent)
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328. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if an aircraft (details supplied) en route to Israel landed at Baldonnel Aerodrome; if these type of flights are facilitated often at Baldonnel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27921/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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In accordance with the legislative requirements of the Air Navigation (Foreign Military Aircraft) Order 1952, all foreign military aircraft wishing to overfly or land in the State require the permission of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. A request is received by the Department of Foreign Affairs from the relevant embassy of the visiting/overflying foreign aircraft. This request is then forwarded to a number of parties including the Department of Defence and the Department of Justice for observations. In the Department of Defence's case this will also involve confirmation that an aircraft can be facilitated for landing at Casement Aerodrome if part of the request.

I can confirm the permission was granted for the USAF C-17 to land at Baldonnel on Tuesday 18th May 2021, on a refuelling stop as part of a crew training mission en-route to the UK.

The provision of diplomatic clearance to foreign military and State aircraft to land and overfly the State is subject to strict conditions. Permission was granted in this case subject to the conditions that routinely apply to landings at Irish airports by foreign military aircraft; namely that the aircraft is unarmed, carries no arms, ammunition or explosives and does not engage in intelligence gathering, and that the flight in question does not form any part of a military exercise or operation.

I can confirm that landings by US aircraft at Casement Aerodrome are not routine, however in any given ordinary year requests may be received for a number of foreign military aircraft to land at Casement Aerodrome , for a variety of reasons, including support to the likes of the annual Bray Airshow.


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