- The Washington Times - Monday, January 16, 2006

DUBLIN (Reuters) — Ireland’s booming economy has had one unexpected side effect: The once-impoverished country now has so many helicopters that aviation authorities are having to create copter lanes in the airspace over Dublin.

“It’s aligned with economic growth,” said Lilian Cassin, a spokeswoman for the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). “It’s more people having more money.”

Miss Cassin said that under regulations to be introduced this year, helicopters would be given specific routes across the greater Dublin area and no longer will cross over the same airspace as larger aircraft.

The Irish Independent newspaper reported yesterday that the country had more helicopters per person than the United States or Britain.

Miss Cassin said the IAA currently had 123 private helicopters on its register, compared with 56 in 2000, although she noted that the number of craft in the skies was probably higher because non-Irish-owned helicopters still fly in Ireland’s airspace.

“So the helicopters … are taking up a disproportionate amount of air traffic control time,” she added.

Ireland has one of the fastest growing economies in the euro area. The boom has fueled a surge in construction and a leap in personal wealth.

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