ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 20

PERSPECTIVES
Conor McCarthy
CEO, Emerald Airlines, and Executive Chairman,
Dublin Aerospace
Jetrader spoke to Conor McCarthy about his
storied career in the aviation industry, as well as
the challenges and opportunities of starting a
regional airline during a global pandemic.
in total. I finished up there as chief
executive of Aer Lingus Commuter.
In 1996, Michael O'Leary, then a
Jetrader: Can you tell me a little
about your background? Where did
you begin your career, and how did
you end up at Dublin Aerospace?
CM: This year marks my 43rd year
in aviation. It's funny that I began
my career as an aircraft electrician
apprentice with Aer Lingus literally
yards from where I'm sitting right
now. I'm here in Hangar 5 in Dublin
Airport where Dublin Aerospace has
its main operations running, and this
is where I started as an apprentice
at 16 years old. Some of the guys
I worked with then still work here
today. I joined here along with about
30 other lads and did my four years
training and did a lot of studying
at night in parallel. Everyone who
couldn't afford university went to
college at night. I ended up with a
degree in engineering from Trinity
College Dublin. Then I went back to
Aer Lingus and spent 18 years there
20 * THE OF F I C I AL PUBL I CAT I ON OF ISTAT
little-known guy running an airline with
just 10 aircraft, asked me to join Ryanair
as their director of group operations. We
went through some really interesting
times there. I spent just short of five
years at Ryanair. We started rolling out
the low-cost, cookie-cutter model; it
was already an extremely good operation
and was an ultra-low-cost carrier, which
I would say, it still is today. Cost was the
religion, and everybody followed that
religion fervently. We did some great
things on operational efficiency and
costs and ran a really simple operation.
We started our cookie-cutter model
of being able to roll out fully staffed,
supported bases across Europe. We
opened our first bases in that time; we
did our first big deal with Boeing, where
we selected and purchased our first
737-800s. It was good fun, a highly
disciplined operation - very well run,
very focused.
At the end of 2000, I left Ryanair to
start my own business. At that stage,
I was 22 years in the industry and
felt I'd spent enough time in both the
legacy and low-cost airlines to peddle
my knowledge base and become a
consultant. So, I started PlaneConsult,
which is still in operation today. I'm still
part of it, but I haven't been spending
a lot of time on it of late. In 2001, we
did some work for easyJet - a couple
of airports - and I got to meet Tony
Fernandes in Malaysia, who wanted
to start his own airline. Later on in
2001, we ended up buying AirAsia, a
two-aircraft operation - Malaysia's
second national carrier, as it was
called. We bought it for one Malaysian
ringgit, which is about 25 U.S. cents.
People don't often publish this, but
we also bought US$12 million of debt.
The airline owed about US$24 million,
and the big part of the deal was that
we took half the debt, and we paid
25 cents for all the shares and the
accumulated tax losses, which was
nice. So, we did a deal with the seller
and we said, " OK, pay all the creditors
half of what they're owed, and we'll
talk to them all about giving us some
patience on the other half. " So, we
started AirAsia, and like all of these
stories, we ended up with loads of
drama in the first six months. A seagull
flew into the leading edge of one of
our aircraft on the first weekend when
everything was all full, effectively
grounding half the fleet! The travel
agents in Malaysia during the Chinese
New Year booked up all our seats, and

ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021

ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021
From the President
ISTAT News & Events
Perspectives
The ā€˜Eā€™ in ESG
The Pandemic Challenges in the Tertiary Market
Appraisal: Airbus A320ceo and General Electric GEnx-1B
Aviation History: The Shangri-La of ISTAT
ISTAT Foundation: Achieving a More Diverse Aviation Industry
Advertiser Index
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - Cover2
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 1
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - From the President
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 3
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 4
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 5
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 6
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 7
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - ISTAT News & Events
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 9
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - Perspectives
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 11
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 12
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 13
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 14
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 15
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 16
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 17
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 18
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 19
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 20
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 21
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 22
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 23
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - The ā€˜Eā€™ in ESG
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 25
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 26
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 27
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - The Pandemic Challenges in the Tertiary Market
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 29
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 30
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 31
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - Appraisal: Airbus A320ceo and General Electric GEnx-1B
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 33
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 34
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 35
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - Aviation History: The Shangri-La of ISTAT
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 37
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 38
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 39
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - ISTAT Foundation: Achieving a More Diverse Aviation Industry
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 41
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 42
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - 43
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - Advertiser Index
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - Cover3
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2021 - Cover4
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