Dublin Aerospace was founded by Conor McCarthy following the closure of the SR Technics business in at Dublin airport in 2009.
An aviation engineer by profession, McCarthy’s vision was to keep the aircraft maintenance industry alive in Ireland where a large pool of experienced and skilled aviation engineers was readily available.
Known as an MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) business in aviation circles, it was the first such business to be established in Western Europe for over a decade.
Dublin Aerospace is approaching the end of its second year of operations and has moved from a zero base to employing 225 people during its peak winter operations.
With a nil-cash burn in year one the company is poised to make a profit in the current year.
Products: Dublin Aerospace has three business divisions: Aircraft Overhaul; Landing Gear Services; and APU (Auxillary Power Unit) Services.
The firm’s operations are focused on two major aircraft types – namely, the Boeing 737 and Airbus Single Aisle (narrow body) families of aircraft.
In addition to these core businesses, the company leases out Landing Gear APUs and provides training to engineers within the airline industry.
Customers: Having already won a five year contract from the UK-based airline, easyJet, to overhaul all of its landing gears, the firm has embarked upon a major investment programme to offer Airbus 320 Landing Gear overhauls.
What prompted you to start-up in business? When I was 16, I left school to train as an Aircraft Engineer with Aer Lingus – my best ever career move!
The reputation and ability of Irish aircraft engineers is unequalled, so when SR Technics pulled out of the MRO (Maintenance Repair & Overhaul) sector in Ireland, it offered an opportunity to re-start the industry here.
However, the challenge was to make it a sustainable business, I knew it would require a very new approach.
What are the biggest challenges you faced when starting up and how did you overcome them? Personally, the greatest challenge was to manage the significant time commitment that starting Dublin Aerospace would require and how it would impact on my valuable time with my family.
I had been running a successful airline consultancy, PlaneConsult, and had airline interests in Asia and Mexico through the AirAsia and Aerobus businesses, so I also knew that I would have to make it a personal priority to be as physically close as possible to the company during the start-up phase, especially when we were implementing a unique business and employment model.
Once we got through the initial 18 months I knew I could bring in a CEO and ‘beef-up’ the team.
We achieved that goal in January when Donal Rogers joined us as CEO.
He has already made a great difference with the team and the business.
What is your biggest business achievement? I’d say it was probably establishing AirAsia and building it into Asia’s largest and most successful low-fares airline, with 100 aircraft and carrying 28million passengers per year.