Published on January 21st, 2018 | by Mark Dwyer0
Dublin Aerospace considers Regional Airports for further Expansion
According to the Irish Independent, Dublin Aerospace is considering expansion at one of the regional airports. In an interview with the Independent, Executive Chairman Conor McCarthy said the firm would be unlikely to target Shannon Airport where many other maintenance organisations have long established operations.
That leaves Cork, Kerry, Ireland West Airport, Waterford, Sligo and Donegal as potential candidates. Although aircraft positioning to and from maintenance are much lighter and don’t need the runway lengths required for normal operations, the runway strength at Donegal, Sligo & Waterford effectively rule them out. That leaves Cork, Kerry & Ireland West Airport as suitable airports.
Joe Gill of Goodbody Stockbrokes wrote a column in the Irish Examiner in November asking why there were not more MRO’s (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul) outside Dublin “But the number of MRO companies resident in Ireland is relatively small. There is one at Dublin Airport and a handful in Shannon. Knock has a small tear-down facility, but there are none in Cork, Waterford, Derry, or Kerry. If we have lots of land and quiet runways in airports outside of Dublin, why is it beyond the wit of policymakers and airfield owners to devise a strategy that attracts a wave of MRO investments?”
Cork and Ireland West Airport look like the most likely contenders. Cork has two runways and access to a relatively large population from which to recruit future apprentices. Ireland West Airport already has a suitable apron in place and some existing hangar space although this is likely to be too small for the aircraft types that Dublin Aerospace regularly handle.
Dublin Aerospace intends to double its turnover by 2023. In the financial year to the end of September 2016, it posted revenue of €45.2m and made a pre-tax profit of €3.7m. Turnover now exceeds €50m. The company has net assets of €16.5m and cash or cash equivalents of €5.7m with no debt.
According to its CEO Michael Tyrrell, the company plans to earn a turnover of €70m from its global businesses by 2020: “We know our export-driven business model and having one of the largest apprenticeship programmes within the aviation sector will be an asset, particularly as the UK and Ireland, as well as the wider world, forge new chapters in light of Brexit.”
“We’re continuing to look for opportunities,” said Mr McCarthy. “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. Getting a return on investment on a hangar is not easy. It’s a very tight business to make a return on.
“We’re looking at some other sites still. We’ve a very strong balance sheet and lots of cash.”
Mr. McCarthy said the company was not under any time pressure to secure an additional facility. In saying that, as work continues on the new North Runway at Dublin Airport it’s likely that the passenger terminal will continue to expand, possibly threatening existing hangar space at the airport and forcing the company to relocate. Whether this means relocating to another hangar on the airport grounds or a different airport completely, only time will tell.