One of Aer Arann’s busiest areas must be its personnel department: “We have experienced huge growth in the past two years, particularly in flight crew and operations. Given our current rate of growth, flight crew [numbers] have grown above 30 percent per year and will continue at 15 to 20 percent,” according to head of operations John Halpin.
European Regions Airline Association
Aer Arann performs its own line maintenance, with base checks contracted to TAT at Dinard in northern France, said COO Peter McKenna. Components go to sister company Aer Arann Islands in Connemara. The airline employs 25 maintenance staff, and generally adds two or three people with each additional aircraft.
In an industry where airlines have all too often been run by aviators instead of businessmen, Aer Arann chief executive Padraig O’Ceidigh (pronounced ‘O’Kaygee’) has brought a cautious–if not typically Irish–approach to the airline. “The most important word in business is ‘no’,” he asserts.
Following recent restructuring, British Airways wholly owned regional subsidiary BA CitiExpress (BACE) “is on track to stop the bleeding,” but will need at least another year to meet profitability targets, company officials predict. The airline has made
New Irish regional airline Jetmagic hopes to double its fleet by the end of this month by adding another pair of Embraer jets to its existing complement of two ERJ-145s leased from Swiss International Air Lines. Along with adding capacity, the airline’s plans for at least one 37-seat ERJ-135 will allow it to fly from its Cork base to London City Airport, where steep approach requirements disqualify the 50-seat ERJ-145.
Irish regional airline Aer Arann underscored its willingness to challenge air transport convention over the summer when it opened the first direct air link between Belfast and Dublin in eight years. But a little more than two months later, economic pragmatism trumped any political or symbolic value the new route might have carried, when CEO Padraig O’Ceidigh ended the experiment almost as abruptly as it began.
Major structural changes announced by Swiss International Airlines in June include a considerable reduction of the company’s regional network with the start of its winter timetable, in late October. But while Swiss frantically clutches for a financial lifeline, there appears no shortage of newcomers willing to fill the airline’s shoes.
Two years on from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Europe’s regional airlines are still struggling to recover from some of the toughest business conditions they’ve ever seen. But the European Commission (EC) keeps kicking them while they’re down, according to Mike Ambrose, director general of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA).
Brazil’s Embraer said it will lay off 1,800 workers, reduce deliveries this year from 185 to 160 and lower its forecast delivery rate from 205 to 135 next year as part of a plan to stem losses expected to result from September 11. Although the company said all firm orders remain in effect, it expects a number of customers to defer option conversions until the global economic outlook improves.
ERA named German operator Eurowings regional airline of the year at last month’s general assembly, 12 months after the German regional airline placed second in the competition. Eurowings attributes its success to its fleet mix and route network; an appropriate alliance policy with German flag carrier Lufthansa, which has an option to increase its 25-percent stake in the regional to 49 percent; and an attractive “customer product.”