Eamonn Brennan

Eamonn Brennan

CEO of the Irish Aviation Authority

Aviation / Ireland

“Brexit is a major growth opportunity”

Ireland punches above its weight in air transportation. More than just the home to Ryanair, Europe’s largest passenger airline, Ireland is also a major hub for travel to the US and is an all round aviation business expert. Eamonn Brennan, CEO of the Irish Aviation Authority, explains more.

How has Ryanair shaped aviation in Ireland?
Ireland-based Ryanair is Europe’s largest airline and among the largest in the world. With 120 million passengers in 2016, Ryanair flew nearly three times more travelers than British Airways. But this is not a one-off entrepreneurial success. Ryanair is supported by Ireland’s experienced aviation ecosystem, not to mention the Irish people’s outward-looking mentality.

What defines this competitive Irish aviation ecosystem?
Ireland has extremely strong safety oversight rules, which rank us among the top-three safest aviation industries globally, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization. Also, this is an ideal place to take out a loan or a leasing agreement for a plane, services that are helped by the business-friendly tax and legal system. It should also be said that our government is very supportive. For example, their backing will ensure that Dublin’s second runway will be built 10 years ahead of the new project at London Heathrow.

How will Brexit affect Ireland’s role as a transatlantic hub?
There is a cartel servicing the US market and it needs shaking up. Brexit is a major growth opportunity because we can do just this, as US-bound travelers would be inclined to opt for Irish airports instead because passengers can obtain US customs and immigration pre-clearance here, saving time on arrival as they will be considered domestic travelers. Ireland is today a top-5 transatlantic hub, creating direct US-market growth for the Ireland-registered low-cost airline Norwegian. Ireland will host the new worldwide airplane tracking system Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast, and we are leading the way regarding drone licencing. Nowhere else is as committed to innovation in the aviation industry as Ireland.