Plans for night flights at Weston Airport spark concern in county council

Airport’s owner wants to establish a helicopter search-and-rescue base at the facility near Lucan

South Dublin County Council has expressed concerns over the introduction of night-time flights at Weston Airport as part of plans to establish a helicopter search-and-rescue (SAR) base there.

Earlier this year, the airport’s owner, Weston Aviation Academy Ltd, lodged the plans for the SAR base at the airport near Lucan, and if planning were obtained, the base was to be used by the recently appointed operators of the State’s SAR service, Bristow Ireland Ltd.

The applicants have confirmed that the proposed facility is to provide emergency services and would need to operate 24 hours each day.

The proposal is, however, being opposed by a local stud farm operation and residents. In a letter to the applicants, the council said that it had concerns over the justification for the proposed development in terms of location and access, and the orderly development of Weston Airport.


The council also noted that the proposal would result in an intensification of the use of Weston Airport, and of particular regard is the introduction of night-time flights given that the applicant said that the airport doesn’t currently operate outside the hours of 8.00am to 8.00pm.

The council said that the appropriateness of the proposed development’s location is of consideration given that it would change the nature of activity at Weston Airport, whose investors include Stripe co-founder John Collison.

The council also said that insufficient information has been submitted to fully justify the proposed location and in relation to its proximity to noise-sensitive sites.

As a result, the council has requested the applicants to provide justification for locating the proposed development at Weston Airport over other proximate airports such as Dublin Airport and Baldonnell.

Stud farm operator Tony Doyle told the council that the prospect of night-time fights at Weston Airport would “have a drastic consequence for us, our animals and the people looking after them”.

Mr Doyle said that that if any SAR helicopter flew over his property at Coneyboro Stud Farm, Celbridge, Co Kildare at night “while my horses are lying down/resting in the paddocks or being attended to in the stables, the consequences for us and our animals are insurmountable and will lead to fatalities on our farm”.

The applicants said that it expected that no adverse impact on horses at the nearby study farm would happen.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times