Published on January 16th, 2018 | by Mark Dwyer


Stobart Air Names Conor McCarthy as Non-Executive Chairman

Conor McCarthy, co-founder of AirAsia and current Executive Chairman of Dublin Aerospace, has been named as the non-executive Chairman of Stobart Air. Mr McCarthy has been in the aviation business for 39 years, initially starting out in Aer Lingus. He was appointed CEO of Aer Lingus Commuter in 1991 until he left to become Director of Group Operations at Ryanair in 1996. In 2000 he established his own consultancy firm ‘Plane Consult’ which specialises in Low Costs and Start-Up airlines. In 2001 he joined Air Asia and is credited with transforming the airline into the most successful Low Cost Carrier in the region. It now has 210 aircraft and carries 65 million passengers a year.

When SR Technics closed in Dublin in 2009, McCarthy spotted an opportunity and established Dublin Aerospace where he remains as Executive Chairman. He was awarded EY Irish Entrepreneur of the Year (2011) for the success of Dublin Aerospace, which recently announced the recruitment of another 150 aerospace professionals. The company operates from a 20,000m2 facility covering Hangar 1, 4 and 5 at the airport. The 4 bay base maintenance facility can handle approximately 70 aircraft per annum, an APU overhaul centre that can handle 400 APU’s a year and a Landing Gear services centre that has capacity for 250 legs annually. The base maintenance department caters for Airbus A320 family aircraft, Airbus A330 aircraft and the Boeing B737 New Generation and Classic aircraft. The APU Repair centre caters for most Airbus and Boeing compatible APU’s, whilst the Landing Gear Service Centre handles both the Airbus A320 family Landing Gears and the Boeing B737NG/Classic landing gears.

McCarthy is well placed to become Non-Executive Chairman at Stobart considering his experience, particularly at Aer Lingus Commuter which no longer exists but is effectively the Aer Lingus Regional brand currently franchised to Stobart. Stobart Air operates up to 860 flights weekly with 43 routes across 11 countries. The airline operates under the Aer Lingus Regional and FlyBe brands from bases in the UK and Ireland and employs over 570 people.

Stobart Air have said they would also be interested in expanding its use of jets. The currently operate three E195 jets in FlyBe colours (E170 pictured).

Speaking to the Irish Independent Mr McCarthy said that Stobart Air would also be interested in expanding its use of jets. It currently has three Embraer 195 jets in its fleet that were previously leased to Flybe. He said that Stobart Air might also explore airline acquisitions around Europe to take advantage of continuing structural changes amongst legacy carriers.

Warwick Brady, Chief Executive, Stobart Group, said “Stobart Air is a valuable part of our overall aviation strategy, which is focused on meeting the growing demand for increased capacity and improved customer experience. Stobart Air is already Europe’s largest ATR operator, and we will benefit greatly from Conor’s experience, contact base and independent advice, as we continue to grow our reputation for excellent customer service while maintaining a very low-cost base.”

Graeme Buchanan, Managing Director, Stobart Air, added: “We are delighted to welcome Conor McCarthy as Chairman of our board. Conor has a wealth of experience in Irish and global aviation, and I believe he will greatly assist us in achieving our business goals for 2018 and into the future.”

Graeme Buchanan (L), MD of Stobart Air and Warwick Brady (R), CEO of Stobart Group

“I look forward to working with the Board and Executive Team of Stobart Air”, said Conor McCarthy. “The team of professionals at Stobart Air have already achieved a huge amount. They have a great reputation for the provision of a safe, efficient and reliable service throughout Ireland and the UK, in addition to being a critical part of the Aer Lingus network and connecting hub at Dublin. It is a real privilege to be asked to join that team.”

Conor McCarthy replaces Andrew Tinkler who was the CEO of the Stobart Group plc and is now an Executive Board member of Stobart Group. He is now also Chairman of the newly formed Stobart Capital.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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