Aer Arann

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This article is about the former Irish regional airline. For the separate Irish airline which still exists, see Aer Arann Islands. For Aer Arann's successor, see Stobart Air.
Aer Arann
Fate Defunct - Purchased by Stobart Group consortium and re-branded
Successor(s) Stobart Air
Founded 1970 (Galway)
Defunct 19 March 2014
Key people
  • Sean Brogan (Chief Executive)
  • Davina Pratt (Chief Operating Officer)
  • Simon Fagan (Chief Commercial Officer)
  • Fiachra Kirwan (Chief Financial Officer)
Parent Everdeal Holdings Limited
Website www.aerarann.com
Aer Arann's former logo, used between 2004 and 2011, although sometimes still used when displaying flights until 2014
Aer Arann's former headquarters in Dublin (now the headquarters of Stobart Air)
An Aer Arann ATR 72 taking off from Bristol Airport

Aer Arann (styled as Aer Arann Regional) was a regional airline based in Dublin, Ireland.[1] The airline operated scheduled services on behalf of Aer Lingus Regional. The airline had three bases in Cork, Dublin and Shannon which operated under the Aer Lingus Regional brand.

On 19 March 2014, Aer Arann announced that it would be changing its corporate name to Stobart Air by the end of 2014.[2]

History[edit]

Aer Arann's former logo, used between 1998 and 2003

The beginning[edit]

Aer Arann was established in 1970 by James Coen and Ralph Langan to provide an island-hopping air service between Galway and the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. Operations, using a single Britten-Norman Islander, began in August 1970. This service has since been moved to the less distant Connemara Airport and operates as "Aer Arann Islands". As of 2010 it still used Islander aircraft.

Purchase by Pádraig Ó Céidigh and Eugene O'Kelly[edit]

The turning point for the airline was in 1994 when Pádraig Ó Céidigh and Eugene O'Kelly purchased the airline. Ó Céidigh and O'Kelly began to expand the airline's routes and fleet, launching scheduled services in 1998. Also in 1998, the Irish government awarded the airline the Public service obligation (PSO) route between Donegal and Dublin followed by the PSO route between Sligo and Dublin.

Expansion[edit]

In 2002, service to the United Kingdom and Jersey was introduced, followed by service to Lorient and Nantes in Brittany in 2004.

In 2007, Aer Arann had a turnover of €100 million and passenger numbers in excess of 1.15 million.

In 2008, in recognition of the company's marketing achievements, the Head of Sales and Marketing, Colin Lewis was awarded the All Ireland Marketing Leader of the Year Award by the Marketing Institute of Ireland.[3]

In 2008, Aer Arann entered into a franchise agreement with Nex Aviation and introduced service to Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Málaga and Faro, using British Aerospace 146 aircraft during the summer months. The Amsterdam service, which was operated by an ATR 72-500, ended on 14 January 2009.

Dealing with the economic downturn[edit]

In October 2008, the airline announced that it would be implementing a cost-saving programme, due to the downturn in passenger traffic, which would involve some focus on charter flights and leasing of aircraft and their crews to other airlines.[4] The airline stated that up to 100 redundancies would be needed, but this was later revised to 70 which would represent a 20% reduction of staff.[5] The airline's key routes were to remain unchanged.

In January 2010, Aer Arann and Aer Lingus founded Aer Lingus Regional which effectively removed Aer Arann's hubs at Cork and Dublin under the new airline.

In July 2010, Aer Arann confirmed it would end flights between Cork-Belfast and Cork-Dublin from 31 August 2010. The companies press release stated, “we sincerely regret having to suspend these services and the inconvenience that it will cause our loyal customers on both routes. Unfortunately however we have an aircraft leaving the fleet and this has an obvious but regrettable impact on our schedule. Aer Arann had operated flights on the Cork to Dublin route since 2001 and began service from Cork to Belfast in March 2004 after the demise of the airline JetMagic. Aer Arann now no longer operates from Cork Airport in its own entity but continues to expand its presence at Cork under the Aer Lingus Regional brand.

Entering Examinership[edit]

On 26 August 2010 an examiner was appointed to Aer Arann. A full hearing of the company’s application took place on 8 September and Aer Arann was in interim examinership under the protection of the Court. All Aer Arann flights continued to operate normally. It was understood by the high court in Dublin that Aer Arann would return to profitability in 2011.[6][7]

Change of ownership[edit]

In October 2010, British logistics company Stobart Group was named as the preferred buyer for the airline, also announcing that the airline would serve London Southend Airport from March 2011 to destinations in Ireland and possibly France and open a base there.[8][9]

On 10 November 2010, the deal was completed. Aer Arann is now owned by Everdeal Limited, which at the time became 67.5% owned by Pádraig Ó Céidigh, Aer Arann's Chairman; 27.5% owned by Tim Kilroe, a UK-based businessman; and 5% owned by the Stobart Group, through 35 preference shares of €1 each acquired on 10 November 2010. Stobart Group entered into an option to increase its shareholding by a further 27.5% to 32.5%.[10][11]

On 7 April 2011, Aer Arann confirmed it would end its PSO (Public Service Obligation) routes after the Irish Government withdrew funding for the routes, which included Dublin to Galway, Knock and Sligo.[12]

In October 2011, Aer Arann announced it would suspend all services from Galway Airport, axed routes included Galway to Edinburgh, London-Luton, London-Southend, Manchester and Lorient. The company said the routes were "financially no longer viable". Galway Airport then confirmed it would have to make redundant 40 staff due to losing the airport's only operator.[13]

On 8 February 2012, Aer Arann's Chief Executive Paul Schutz resigned, and was replaced by Sean Brogan, the head of Stobart Ireland. This gave Stobart Group management control of the airline, and prompted speculation that it would exercise its option to increase its 5% stake in Everdeal Limited by a further 27.5% to 32.5%.[14]

Ending operations in its own name[edit]

On 2 March 2012, it was confirmed that Aer Arann was in final discussions to transfer all of its own operated flights to the Aer Lingus Regional brand. This would mean Aer Arann would operate on behalf of Aer Lingus Regional with the airline no longer operating routes as its own entity.[15]

On 14 March 2012, Aer Arann confirmed it would no longer exist in its own entity from 10 April 2012. All its services transferred to Aer Lingus Regional on 25 March, streamlining services to a single brand,[16] with the one remaining route operated on an RE flight number, London City to Isle of Man, ceasing on 10 April.

On 6 November 2012, Aer Arann announced it was pulling out of Waterford, as its services had not performed to a "sustainable level". However, it did not rule out returning to Waterford in the future, "if the business case can be justified".[17]

On 12 December 2012, Stobart Group exercised its option to increase its 5% shareholding in Everdeal Limited by 27.5% to 32.5%, and acquired a further 12.5% of the company, taking its stake to 45%. This diluted Chairman Pádraig Ó Céidigh's shareholding to 47.5% and Tim Kilroe's shareholding to 7.5%.[18]

On 25 January 2013, Aer Arann's Chairman Pádraig Ó Céidigh resigned. Stobart Group was therefore expected to buy his 47.5% shareholding in Everdeal Limited by the beginning of February 2013. This would have enabled it to have a 92.5% controlling stake in the airline.[19]

On 30 April 2013, Aer Arann's ownership was restructured. It is now owned by Everdeal Holdings Limited, which is 45% owned by the Stobart Group; 42% owned by Invesco; 8% owned by Cenkos Securities; and 5% owned by Pádraig Ó Céidigh, Aer Arann's former Chairman. Stobart Group has an option to acquire complete control of the airline, by increasing its shareholding by a further 55% to 100%.[20]

Disappearance[edit]

On 19 March 2014, Aer Arann announced that it would be changing its corporate name to Stobart Air by the end of 2014.[2]

Destinations[edit]

Further information: Aer Lingus Regional and Stobart Air

Fleet[edit]

ATR 72 in Aer Lingus Regional colours taxiing at Birmingham Airport, England (2011)

The Aer Arann fleet which exclusively operated for Aer Lingus Regional included the following aircraft,[21][22] with an average fleet age of 11.2 years (as of 18 March 2014):[23]

Aer Arann fleet operating for Aer Lingus Regional
Aircraft Total Orders[24] Passengers Y Notes
ATR 42-300 3 48 One stored
ATR 72-201 2 66
ATR 72-500 2 72
ATR 72-600 7 72
Total 15 0

Former fleet[edit]

Aer Arann operated the following aircraft types (in alphabetical order):

Services[edit]

Gold Circle Club[edit]

Since the transition to Aer Lingus Regional, Aer Arann had announced that flights in qualifying booking classes will earn Aer Lingus Gold Circle Club points.

In flight services[edit]

Aer Arann operated a buy on board programme similar to Aer Lingus.

Sponsorship deals[edit]

Aer Arann was the main shirt sponsor of the Galway Gaelic Football team,[29] and has its logo on the back of the Connacht Rugby team shirts, as well as sponsoring the Munster Rugby team.

On 17 December 2010, Aer Arann announced that it would be ending its sponsorship of the Galway Gaelic Football team.[30]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 17 July 2011, ATR 72-212 registration EI-SLM was damaged beyond economical repair when the nose gear collapsed on landing at Shannon International Airport, Ireland. The aircraft was operating an international scheduled passenger flight from Manchester Airport, United Kingdom. There were no injuries amongst the four crew and 21 passengers on board.[31]

In popular culture[edit]

Aer Arann was featured in the 1997 romantic comedy, The MatchMaker.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Aer Arann Contact Information." Aer Arann. Retrieved on 12 November 2009.
  2. ^ a b Aer Arann to change corporate name to Stobart Air. Retrieved on 19 March 2014.
  3. ^ Ruth Egan - Fireball Media Ltd. - http://www.fireballmedia.ie. "All Ireland Marketing Awards". Aimawards.ie. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Aer Arann announces cost reduction programme
  5. ^ Aer Arann completes review of operations Jobs saved - some route changes
  6. ^ EXAMINERSHIP
  7. ^ "HEARING ON 08/09/10". Rte.ie. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  8. ^ Daly, Gavin; Ian Kehoe (10 October 2010). "British firm is revealed as new backer of Aer Arann". The Sunday Business Post (Dublin). Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  9. ^ "Regular flights from Southend airport from next March". Southend Standard. 12 October 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  10. ^ Aer Arann on course despite plans to sell on its aircraft leasing unit. Retrieved on 17 July 2012.
  11. ^ Stobart Group Annual Report 2011 Page 68 Note 22. Retrieved on 24 September 2011.
  12. ^ "ends of 3 PSO routes". Rte.ie. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  13. ^ Aer Arann Galway.
  14. ^ Stobart in pilot’s seat at Aer Arann as Schutz departs. Retrieved on 25 January 2013.
  15. ^ Aer Arann ends flights in its own name
  16. ^ Aer Arann to become Aer Lingus Regional
  17. ^ Aer Arann is pulling out of Waterford on decline in passengers. Retrieved on 25 January 2013.
  18. ^ Aer Arann Rises from the Ashes. Retrieved on 25 January 2013.
  19. ^ End of an era as O Ceidigh quits Aer Arann. Retrieved on 25 January 2013.
  20. ^ Aer Arann takes off with first of new fleet. Retrieved on 19 May 2013.
  21. ^ "Aer Lingus online information regarding Aer Arann partnership". Aerlingus.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  22. ^ "jethros.org.uk". jethros.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  23. ^ "Avg Fleet Age". Planespotters.net. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  24. ^ http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/aer-arann-takes-off-with-first-of-new-fleet-29230035.html
  25. ^ "ATW Daily News". ATW Online. 14 January 2008. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  26. ^ "Engine problem forces Aer Arann flight to make emergency landing". The Irish Times. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  27. ^ Goodman, Fergal (17 August 1985). "EI-BRC". Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  28. ^ "Plane skids off runway". BBC News. 1 February 2001. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  29. ^ "Aer Arann swoops in to sponsor Galway". Galway City Tribune. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2010. 
  30. ^ "Aer Arann ends Galway sponsor link". The Irish Examiner. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  31. ^ "Avions de Transport Regional 72-212, EI-SLM Shannon Airport 17 July 2011 FINAL REPORT". Dublin: Air Accudent Investigation Unit. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]