Threat of private business jet ‘ban’ at Dublin Airport is lifted

US investors had warned Government of companies reevaluating Irish investments in light of any ban on executive jets

Business jets flying into Dublin Airport are no longer at risk of being “banned” in a move that will defuse rising tensions among foreign companies whose executives routinely visit the State.

It comes after one multinational group warned the Government it would “halt” expansion plans and possibly pull out of Ireland due to proposed limitations on such ad-hoc flights, warning that other companies were of a similar mind.

Dublin Airport management had considered suspending approval of landing and take-off slots for ad-hoc flights in a move that was expected to affect private business jets, as part of a broader strategy to manage its current 32 million passenger cap.

The move prompted the US-based National Business Aviation Association to set out corporate concerns to both the US and Irish ambassadors earlier this year.


It had warned that the restrictions on flights stood to “severely hamper” aviation access to hundreds of US businesses located in Ireland and “detrimentally” impact its 2,000-plus jobs and €1 billion contribution to the economy.

And in a recent letter to former enterprise minister Simon Coveney, one company expressed the mood in blunt terms.

“If our executives are unable to continue flying to Dublin Airport, [we] will be compelled to halt all new hiring in Ireland and consider phasing out our office,” it said in a letter released under Freedom of Information legislation.

“Maintaining a competitive business environment is crucial for Ireland to retain companies like [ours]. It’s important to note that our company is not alone in considering a re-evaluation of our investments in Ireland if such a ban is implemented.”

The identity of the company was withheld but it had only relatively recently established its Irish operation, with plans to expand its workforce during 2024 to between 150 and 200 people.

The National Business Aviation Association has now welcomed a recent decision that appears to have ended the threat to executive jet activity, at least in the short term.

The Washington-based organisation, which says it represents more than 11,000 businesses and professionals, noted a move by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) that it says will ensure continued access for general aviation, including business aircraft.

“The IAA draft decision for the winter 2024/2025 travel season determined the airport’s current cap at 32 million passengers annually would only apply to traffic utilising the facility’s two commercial airline passenger terminals, preserving GA [general aviation] and business aviation access to Dublin through at least March 29th, 2025,” it noted.

The association said it had worked with the Irish Business and General Aviation Association and the European Business Aviation Association to “ensure officials understood the potential ramifications to Ireland’s business community and tourism industry should such a ban be imposed”.

While the draft decision will exempt executive jet traffic movements from the capacity limit for the time being, the IAA has noted that subsequent applicability will be kept under review. IAA said fewer than 18,000 general aviation passengers came through Dublin Airport last year.

The passenger cap at the airport continues to cause difficulties. Last week, Aer Lingus said it would consider legal action against a 14.4 million winter limit imposed by the IAA in order to ensure compliance with the overall ceiling.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times