DUBLIN, Ireland - Last week, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) celebrated the centenary of transatlantic flight; the remarkable achievement of aviators John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown, 100 years on from their ground-breaking transatlantic flight in a Vickers Vimy aircraft from Newfoundland, Canada to the Derrigimlagh Bog, near Clifden in Connemara.
The IAA paid tribute to these extraordinary pioneers who inspired generations to take to the skies. Ever since this flight, Ireland has been at the centre of not only transatlantic flight, but also at the centre of global aviation.
The IAA now manages around 90% of transatlantic air traffic and last year this represented over half a million flights, both within Irish airspace and over the North Atlantic Ocean. The IAA provides air traffic management services in the 451,000 km2 of airspace controlled by Ireland and handles over 1 million flights per year across these skies.
"This week is very significant for aviation globally and again Ireland is at the centre of this focus. We carry on the tradition today set by pioneers such as Alcock and Brown, and while aviation has changed beyond recognition since those early days, Ireland's strategic importance remains the same. Today, flying is considered the safest mode of transport and the IAA plays a vital part in ensuring the safety of transatlantic flight. We are very proud of our air traffic controllers and communications officers who continue to provide world-class services to aviators and airlines, and we look forward to the next 100 years of aviation in Ireland and across the North Atlantic," Peter Kearney, the CEO of the IAA said Friday.
Transatlantic air navigation and communications began with Shannon Aeradio, founded in 1936 to provide a communication service for flying boats which commenced flying the North Atlantic in 1937 from Foynes in Co. Clare. Today, the IAA's North Atlantic Communications facility in Ballygirreen, Co Clare provides communications services to over 90% of all North-Atlantic flights, while the IAA safely manages air traffic at the intersection of Irish controlled airspace and oceanic airspace.