Aer Arann to exit examinership

Aer Arann will exit examinership on Wednesday 10 November following approval by the Irish of the Scheme of Arrangement proposed by the Examiner to Aer Arann, Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton.

The scheme safeguards all 320 jobs in Aer Arann and more than 200 indirect jobs in regional airports throughout Ireland, reports the carrier.

Throughout the period of examinership Aer Arann services operated normally. There were no cancellations and there was no impact on customer travel as a result of the examinership. Bookings during the examinership period were robust, says Aer Arann.

“We are now very well positioned for the future,” commented Paul Schütz, the airline’s chief executive, after the High Court hearing. “We have to thank our staff, our suppliers and our loyal customers for getting us through a difficult period. We can now look forward with confidence to a period of stability and growth. We have a viable business model and we will continue to build on our core market activity providing strategic air connectivity between the regions and major hubs in Ireland and the UK.

“We have seen the demand for regional air connectivity even throughout the examinership period with our own Aer Arann services performing very well and our franchise flights operated as Aer Lingus Regional going from strength to strength,” Schütz added.

A consortium comprising Padraig O’Ceidigh and multi modal transport company Stobart Group are investing €3.5million in Aer Arann with a further €1.5million being made available for working capital.

O’Ceidigh is the current owner of Aer Arann and he will remain the largest shareholder and executive chairman of the company.

Stobart Group is a major freight, logistics and warehousing company that owns London Southend Airport. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has a market capitalisation of around £400 million.

“Aer Arann now has a platform from which it can grow and develop”, O’Ceidigh noted, “and this is particularly important in the regions served by Aer Arann where air connectivity is a fundamental part of the social and economic infrastructure.

“Jobs must be created and maintained, not just in aviation but across all sectors, as we work to help the country emerge from its economic difficulties,” O’Ceidigh continued, “and a vibrant regional airline is central to that aim.”

The High Court was also told that a further €2.2 million is to be invested in Aer Arann when it exits examinership by Tim Kilroe Jr who will become a significant shareholder and a board director. The investment renews the Kilroe family connection with Aer Arann, as in 1981 Tim Kilroe Sr purchased a two-thirds shareholding in Aer Arann and he remained centrally involved in the airline until the airline was sold to O’Ceidigh in 1994.

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