Top 10 Irish Aviation news stories of 2015

Irish Coast Guard Sikorsky S-92 
This year the Irish Aviation industry saw a whirlwind of changes from the long-awaited IAG acquisition of Aer Lingus, the launch of Ireland's first National Aviation Policy, to AerCap consolidating leasing activities in Ireland and Ryanair celebrating it's 30th Birthday,some milestones to remind us just how far Ireland's aviation has come and why some of the best years are yet to come. Lets take a look back at the top 10 Irish Aviation news stories of 2015.

1. AerCap the world's largest aircraft lessor consolidated leasing business in Ireland,  announcing on 8 July following acquisition of ILFC, creating 100 new jobs in Dublin and Shannon in high end roles across various disciplines including Sales and Marketing, Aircraft Technical, Legal, Contracts Management, Finance and Treasury. AerCap has a fleet of 1,300 owned and managed aircraft and a further 470  aircraft on order, leased to 200 customers in 90 countries. The new Airbus A350-900 (XWB) was flown into Dublin from Toulouse for the event.

2. Aer Lingus was acquired by IAG in a €1.36 billion takeover on 2nd September 2015 following a lengthy takeover battle which commenced in December 2014. IAG having secured acceptances in respect of just over 98 percent of shares in the former state-owned airline. IAG CEO Willie Walsh, said "Aer Lingus will remain an iconic Irish brand with its base and management team in Ireland but will now grow as part of a strong, profitable airline group. This means new routes and more jobs benefiting customers, employees and the Irish economy and tourism".

3. Avolon Shareholders approved the merger agreement with Chinese aircraft lessor Bohai Leasing, the company announced on 21 October in a deal valued at $7.6 billion, which is expected to be completed during first quarter of 2016. Avolon is currently the ninth biggest jet lessor in the world with a fleet of 260 aircraft serving 56 customers in 33 countries, has  ambitions to become the third largest global player.

4. China Construction Bank announced 16 October it's setting up a new global aircraft leasing headquarters in Dublin in an investment valued at $500 million. Under the terms of the deal, Ireland will be the headquarters for all of the bank's aircraft leasing activities outside of China and it plans to expand into other leasing areas. The group also plans to grow its aircraft fleet in Ireland to 200 aircraft over the next five years.

5. CityJet’s new image was unveiled on September 4 reflecting carrier was now in growth mode on 2 October announcing an order for eight CRJ900 aircraft and six option aircraft to be operated on behalf of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) acquiring Blue1 as part of the transaction. The 13 October announced an order for 15 98-seat Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) plus 10 options to replace it's RJ85 fleet,later exercising six of these options on 21 December.

6. Cork Airport returns to growth following years of decline since global financial crisis of 2008. Since October 2015 growth has resumed with new services from Cityjet and Flybe, with strong expected in 2016 with new routes from Aer Lingus, Aer Lingus Regional,Cityjet, Iberia Express, Norwegian. Norwegian Air International (NAI) plans to launch the first transatlantic service from Cork to Boston in May 2016.

7. Dublin Airport announces it's heading for a record year in 2015, announcing November 11 that a few days earlier, the airport had seen just under 22 million passengers pass through its doors this year. Dublin Airport’s busiest year was in 2008, when almost 23.5 million passengers used the airport, but this record is likely to be broken in 2015. New Transatlantic services where announced for 2016 to Cancun, Hartford, Los Angeles, Montego Bay, Newark, Vancouver.

8. Ireland's first ever National Aviation Policy was launched by Minster Paschal Donohoe on August 20. Minister Donohoe pledged the Government’s support for the further development of the aviation sector, saying "Aviation matters. It matters to the Irish economy, it matters to consumers, and it matters to this Government. The aviation sector contributes significantly to the Irish economy, it contributes over €4bn directly to Ireland’s GDP, supporting 26,000 jobs with a further 16,000 jobs indirectly. The tourism industry is also heavily reliant on aviation and accounts for a further €5.3bn in GDP and 180,000 jobs.  I’m glad to say that in line with our very healthy economic recovery, the aviation sector in Ireland continues to grow strongly."

9. On 19 May it was announced Lift-off for new Irish “EJ” corporate aircraft register. A new Irish aircraft register targeted at corporate and business jets has been unveiled. The “EJ” register is administered by the Irish Aviation Authority, with Shannon Airport’s International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) as a preferred marketing and support partner.

10. Ryanair celebrated it's 30th Birthday on 7 July with a low key event in Brussels. Ryanair now has a fleet of 321 Boeing 737-800's with a further 148 to be delivered by 2019. On 11 November Boeing and Ryanair celebrated milestone of 375th Boeing 737-800 delivered since 1999, and is largest all-Boeing operator in Europe. In 2015 it carried almost 100 million passengers from 74 bases across Europe. Ryanair is increasingly targeting new primary airports from Dublin, adding routes to Amsterdam and Athens as it targets business travellers as part of it's 'Always Getting Better Plan'.

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 1st January 2016 All Rights Reserved.


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