After its disappointment in the United Kingdom, Dublin Aerospace is continuing to invest in Ireland to maintain its cruising speed. The MRO company has therefore committed to a new recruitment plan for its Dublin-based activities and is increasing the number of its full time employees. Le Journal de l'Aviation met Kevin Wall, its vice-CEO and CCO, who told us about the company's busy and ultimately successful path, from its creation in the 1940s.
Dublin Aerospace is actually the successor to Aer Lingus's maintenance division, which was sold to FLS Aerospace then to SR Technics. The level of activity dropped over for around ten years under the management of SR Technics: "their subsidiary in Dublin went bust and everything was shut down". This was in 2009 and 2000 people were suddenly unemployed. Asked about the reasons for this collapse, Kevin Wall explained that the problem was first and foremost an incompatible attitude between a major Swiss organisation and Irish workers who has been used to a more family-style management until then. Activity was undermined by several strikes, which ended up with the site being closed. "SR Technics couldn't see any profitability in coming to Dublin, to they had no interest in staying. You can't blame the managers or the workers for it, they just couldn't work together. »
Dublin Aerospace was born just after the closure by SR Technics. The company was created by Conor McCarthy (a former director of Ryanair), Tony Fernandes (before the creation of AirAsia) and Airbus - which owns over 20%. "Today, the company is managed almost like a family business. Many of our employees were laid off by SR Technics and have come back. Things are very different today. "
The company specialises in APUs, gear and base maintenance
And it's a success. "In eight years we have opened one APU workshop, another for landing gear and base maintenance capacities for four planes at the same time ".
In relation to the APU workshop, Dublin Aerospace can provide MRO for Honeywell's auxiliary power units on the A320 and 737 (standard and NG), and the APUs on the 757/767, A300 and A330/ A340, with an adapted test unit. LRU repairs and end of leasing support services are carried out on site. A total of 400 APUs can be repaired each year.
Capacities in the landing gear sector reach 250 units per year, with the maintenance company's skills covering all gear for the A320 and 737 families. It has built up a store of components and a pool of gear which may be leased or exchanged during services. It can also provide different services, such as the application of a chrome, nickel or cadmium coating, heat treatment or non-destructive testing.
Finally, it proposes its base maintenance services for all Airbus and Boeing single aisle aircraft, as well as on the A330. It has also carved out a speciality in end of leasing work. Its hangars, which can handle four planes at the same time, enable it to work on 70 planes per year.
Dublin Aerospace has a simple objective: to double turnover in ten years
In 2016, the maintenance company achieved turnover of 43 million Euro and made a profit of 3 million Euro. "Everything's moving in the right direction and we are looking to grow even more". At the moment, Dublin Aerospace is only operation in its Dublin heartland, where it has 20 000 m² of facilities, but overseas expansion is being very seriously considered as "Dublin is very restricted in terms of capacity and we can't build new hangars near the ones we have now. It may be possible with the new developments at the airport, but we don't know yet". Facilities had been considered in London, which is a very promising area for maintenance, but the project was shut down suddenly by Brexit. "Things have become so uncertain that we don't know what to do and we put the project on hold. We're not saying that it will never happen, but not now at any rate".
This does not call the growth objectives into question. "We started out from nothing and in eight years we have almost reached 50 million Euro in turnover. We want to keep growing at this speed, 30 to 40% per year, and we hope to reach 100 million Euro within the next ten years. We're keeping our objectives simple", concludes Kevin Wall with a smile.