Airports, Airlines, Aviation

Talking Irish Aviation and Airports with Trevor Buckley

For today’s blog, tripchi caught up with Trevor Buckley, Founder at Irish Aviation Research Institute.

trevorbuckley_1403130173_92Trevor has been an aviation “avgeek” for over twenty five years and launched Irish Aviation Research Institute Blog in July 2011. The blog has been nominated for the Blog Awards Ireland 2012 & 2013 and shortlisted in 2013. He also is a researcher for Flying In Ireland magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @IrishAero, where he posts on a wide range of Irish aviation and transport topics. If you are thinking about traveling to Ireland and want some tips on Irish airports, he is the man to talk too.

We at tripchi are all about airports, we have to ask, what is your favorite airport in Ireland and why?

My favorite airport in Ireland has to be Cork Airport. The approach path on Runway 35 takes you along the coast and over the Head of Kinsale and its world famous golf course and spectacular views of countryside. The two-level terminal is very compact and staffs are very friendly, you get great views of the mountains of North Cork/Kerry from the boarding area. I hope one day Ryanair will re-instate the Dublin-Cork service as I was a frequent flyer on the route!

Cork Airport
Cork Airport

What frustrates you the most about airports these days?

My biggest frustration with airports these days is the lack of dedicated aircraft viewing facilities. In the past aircraft viewing facilities was part of the airport experience. In Ireland, Ireland West Airport and Shannon Airport have excellent aircraft viewing facilities, other airports should follow suit and follow example of Frankfurt Main and Manchester. Frankfurt Main viewing facilities is a major tourist attraction in its own right.

What is your favorite airline and aircraft to fly on?

I like to fly as many airlines as possible, so it’s impossible to name one! High on my list to experience in future are Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways and Norwegian. I previous worked in an aircraft maintenance repair organization (MRO) for over twelve years and had exposure to many different aircraft types. I have to say the Boeing 737-800 is my favorite type on short-haul flying have flown many times with Ryanair all around Europe!. On long-haul flying the Boeing 777 is my favorite type the take-off power and rate of climb is amazing!

Ryanair Fleet of Trusty 737-800’s

What is one attribute that aviation enthusiasts have that you wished the average commercial passenger had?

One attribute I wish the average commercial passenger had is to know aircraft types!

Since you focus on Irish aviation, how is Ireland setting itself apart from the rest of Europe in terms of aviation?

Ireland is punching above its weight on the global aviation stage and is home to two successful airlines Aer Lingus and Ryanair. The Irish regulatory authorities are considered to be among the best in the world.

Leading global airline brands are run by the Irish: IAG CEO Willie Walsh, Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce, Co-Founder of Air Asia and Chairman Dublin Aerospace Conor McCarthy.

Irelandia Aviation is the world’s premier low cost carrier (LCC) developer, founded by Declan Ryan, pioneered the LCC model in Europe at Ryanair, and is now replicating the model around the world at Allegiant Air, Tiger Airways, VivAerobus, VivaColumbia.

Todays aviation sector which is worth €4.1 billion annually to Irish economy, supporting 26,000 direct jobs and 16,000 in the supply chain.

The late Dr Tony Ryan set up an airline leasing company, Guinness Peat Aviation (GPA), which had its headquarters in Shannon and quickly became the largest such enterprise in the world. Today, half of the world’s commercial aircraft are managed from Ireland, with over thirty aircraft leasing companies and nine out of the ten top aircraft leasing companies are based in Ireland.


There are 700 direct jobs and 1,400 indirect jobs in aviation leasing and the more than 3,000 commercial aircraft managed from Dublin have a value of more than €80 billion, this sector continues to grow.

On the 1st April 2014 the Irish government followed the Netherlands by abolishing it’s €3 air travel tax on 1st April 2014 creating the conditions for airlines to launch 26 new routes in Ireland this summer and increased frequencies on existing routes, creating growth and jobs.

In 2013 Ireland’s Finance Bill created conditions for the growth and expansion in Aviation Maintenance and Repair (MRO) sector. Dublin Aerospace and Eirtech Aviation, have new business models, delivering flexible and productivity-driven work practices,that deliver strong organic growth.

Ireland is developing a new national aviation policy which will set out a framework for the next 20 years, it’s currently at consultation stage, prior to being finalized and adopted as policy later this year.

The new national aviation policy has a number of key goals including development of new air routes to emerging and new markets, ensuring high level of competition in Irish market, development of air cargo business, maintaining Ireland’s leading position global position in aircraft leasing and aviation financial services, developing Dublin Airport as a secondary hub.

How do you feel about Ryanair’s multiple attempts to takeover Aer Lingus? Do you feel the EU was right to block it?

In my opinion the EU was right to block Ryanair’s multiple attempts of Aer Lingus, as competition is good for connectivity and most importantly the consumer. Aer Lingus and Ryanair have a combined of 80% seat capacity of Ireland’s air travel market. Ireland as an island nation is dependent on air transport, therefore maintaining competitive access is critical for business and the economy. In recent years Aer Lingus and Ryanair are increasing competing against each across many markets directly and indirectly, particularly at Cork, Ireland West Airport and Shannon Airport to London market and UK regional airports between Aer Lingus Regional and Ryanair.  Competition between Aer Lingus and Ryanair,  helps keep both carriers dynamic and innovate which can only benefit the consumer, in terms of choice of products and services.


We will see further convergence in the years ahead between Aer Lingus and Ryanair, as Ryanair adds more primary airports to its European route network. Other Irish carriers in the marketplace are Air Contractors, Cityjet and Stobart Air, interestingly both Air Contractors and Stobart Air operates services on behalf of Aer Lingus. Air Contractors operates three Boeing 757-200s on damp lease for Aer Lingus on transatlantic routes between Dublin and Toronto and Shannon to Boston and New York JFK. Stobart Air operates 27 routes from Cork, Dublin and Shannon Airports to destinations in France and UK under Aer Lingus Regional franchise brand using a fleet of ATR42/72 aircraft.

Norwegian Air International has been granted an operating license in Ireland to take advantage of EU traffic rights but do not fly to any Irish destinations.  Do you think this is a positive or a negative for Irish Aviation?

Bjorn Kjos Scheming
Bjorn Kjos CEO Norwegian Air

The establishment of Norwegian Air International in Ireland ,further enhances Ireland’s reputation as a global leader in the low-cost air travel market. Today many LCC’s operating around the globe, have their origins in Ireland.

Herb Kelleher founder of Southwest Airlines is Irish American,  his parents came from Cork/Kerry region, and Michael O’Leary CEO of Ryanair further developed the low-cost model originated by Southwest Airlines, growing to become Europe’s largest LCC with a further 180 Boeing 737-800s on order.

Conor McCarthy MD Planeconsult and Chairman Dublin Aerospace Co-Founded low-cost carrier Air Asia growing from 2 Boeing 737-300s in 2001 to 165 Airbus A320s today operating to 100 destinations in 22 ASEAN countries. Irelandia Aviation founded by Declan Ryan is bringing the LCC model to Asia, Mexico, South America and US.

Norwegian Air International establishing it’s Irish base will be able to tap into the know how and skills base available, here in Ireland in the low-cost air travel market. In addition Ireland has decided to fully adapt the Cape Town Convention and has an aviation cluster of major leasing companies and ancillary services (MRO). The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is one of the highest ranked civil authorities in the world.

To take advantage of operating license in Ireland, there has been a significant development. The Irish Times newspaper 26th June reported Norwegian Air Shuttle considering launching a new Dublin to Bangkok service next year, opening up the possibility of the first direct service between Ireland and Asia.

What steps are Irish airlines and airports taking to keep international passengers flying to and connecting through the Emerald Isle?

The Irish government new aviation policy is to encourage development of fifth freedom rights through Irish airports, delivering significant benefits for the Irish economy, through increased competition and connectivity Aer Lingus partnership strategy enables passengers connect over its Dublin Airport hub to destinations in Europe and UK and vv over Dublin to Canadian and US Destinations.

US-CBPIrish regional carrier Cityjet recently launched a new twice daily service between Cambridge and Dublin enabling passengers to connect over Dublin onto destinations in the United States with it’s partners Air France-KLM and Delta Airlines. Ryanair operates 76 point to point routes from Dublin Airport to destinations in Europe , North Africa and UK enabling passengers to self-connect onward’s,  if they wish from Dublin with Canadian and European carriers. US Pre-Clearance at Dublin and Shannon Airports provides Ireland with a significant competitive advantage over other European airports as the service is not provided elsewhere in Europe. The facilities are a major contributory factor to the growth of US connecting traffic . Aer Lingus and Aer Lingus Regional and it’s partners Jetblue Airways and United Airlines continue to enhance connectivity for onward connections through Dublin and Shannon airports..

Thanks Trevor!

A big thanks goes out to our friend across the Atlantic for taking the time to speak with tripchi! Trevor blogs on everything Irish aviation. You can connect with him on Twitter @IrishAero, on his blog Irish Aviation Research Institute or email him at

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