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Aerospace Resource Guide: Ireland


Ireland Statistics

Market Entry

Current Market Trends

Current Demand

Main Competitors

Trade Events/Associations

CS Contact

Capital: Dublin
4.6 million
: USD 217.8 billion
: English, Irish (Gaelic)


The aerospace industry in Ireland has over 160 companies with around 5,500 employees. Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) with 4,000 employees is the largest sub-sector, while 900 work in manufacturing, 500 in services and 100 in space activities. National aviation policy is set by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) and the state aviation agencies that fall under its aegis including the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), Shannon Airport Authority (SAA), and the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR). The Irish air travel market is dominated by Aer Lingus and Ryanair. Ireland has three state-owned airports (Dublin, Cork and Shannon) and five regional airports (Donegal, Kerry, Sligo, Waterford and West Ireland Knock) providing scheduled air services. The state-owned airports account for 96 percent of passenger traffic with Dublin being the nation’s primary airport.

Market Entry

Partnering is a key factor for success across sectors of Irish industry. Irish end-users prefer international suppliers to have Irish-based representatives/partners to guarantee fast after-sales service and support allied to local market knowledge. Most suppliers to the Irish aerospace sector have a local agent/representative.

Current Market Trends

The Irish aerospace industry is largely MRO-based with the largest center being around Shannon airport. Current MRO activity encompasses airframe maintenance, specialist restorations of critical parts of aircraft engines and components, manufacturing and services ranging from seat fabrics and mobile access towers (ref: Aircraft and MRO firms operating in Ireland). Ireland is also home to a number of international firms in aircraft and aircraft engine financing.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is the commercial semi-state company responsible for air traffic management & related services in Irish-controlled airspace and safety regulation of the civil aviation industry in Ireland. The IAA operates one of the most advanced air traffic management systems in Europe. In May 2011, the IAA successfully implemented its new COOPANS system which equips air traffic controllers with improved functionalities while maintaining maximum levels of safety and increasing capacity to improve customers' demands.  The IAA also maintains the civil aircraft register for Ireland.

Aer Lingus operates long (North America) and short-haul services to/from Ireland while Ryanair operates an extensive short-haul network from 53 bases in 28 countries throughout Europe. The Air France/KLM-owned airline CityJet operates short-haul services from Dublin to London City Airport and Paris-CDG. Since March 2012, the Aer Lingus Regional Service to the UK and France is operated on a franchise basis by Stobart Air (formerly Aer Arann)

Ireland is a leading center for aircraft leasing. Nine of the top 10 global leasing companies currently operate in Ireland, with operations spanning the industry value chain, from sales to asset management and technical services. Activities undertaken include sales, remarketing and lease placement, financing operations, acquisition and management, transaction negotiation, execution and deal structuring and technical services including Irish aircraft registration. Irish-based companies own or manage 19 percent of the 18,000+ commercial craft flying worldwide.

In December 2012, the Irish government announced a new ownership and operating structure for Shannon Airport. As widely anticipated this new ownership structure for Shannon will endeavor to create a commercially focused airport that can grow passenger, business jet, cargo and aircraft maintenance business. In conjunction with this announcement, the government also launched a consultation on Ireland’s national aviation policy with the intention of publishing a new policy in 2014.

Current Demand

Sluggish passenger growth caused by the poor economic climate across Europe and Ryanair’s attempted acquisition of Aer Lingus since 2007 caused the deferral of fleet expansion procurements by Aer Lingus and Ryanair. Following rejection of its latest acquisition proposal by EU competition authorities in February 2013, Ryanair quickly moved to confirm a USD 15.6 billion order with Boeing for delivery of one hundred and seventy five (175) 737-800s through 2018. In addition, Ryanair is reportedly evaluating Boeing’s Next Generation 737-Max aircraft for a further 125-plane order. Aer Lingus fleet upgrade is more medium-term with the planned procurement of nine Airbus A350 aircraft in 2014 being deferred until 2016.

The DAA will be undertaking refurbishment work at Dublin Airport’s Terminal 1 facility in 2013/14. In addition, the planned development of an international aviation services center at Shannon Airport should offer opportunities in that region.

All government organizations namely DTTAS, DAA, SAA, IAA and CAR must comply with European Union and Irish government public procurement regulations. Consequently, all relevant procurements falling within these guidelines are listed in the Irish Government’s eTenders public procurement portal. The notice search facility on this portal offers excellent insights on the procurement practices of these aviation agencies as interested U.S. suppliers can research details of previous, current, and most importantly, future procurements.


The Aer Lingus fleet consists solely of Airbus aircraft while Ryanair’s fleet is all Boeing. Aer Lingus has a short-haul fleet comprised of A319, A320 and A321 planes while its long-haul fleet is exclusively A330 aircraft. In 2014, Aer Lingus outsourced its Shannon transatlantic service to Air Contractors who utilize Boeing 757-200 aircraft on the route. Ryanair’s fleet consists solely of 303 Boeing 737-800s as a result of a contract agreed in 2001.

The Air France/KLM-owned airline CityJet operates two aircraft types across its European network - the Avro RJ85 and the Fokker 50. Aer Arann’s 15-plane fleet comprises four ATR 42, nine ATR 72 and two Dornier 328 turboprop aircraft. The List of commercial operator aircraft in Ireland contains more detailed information on Irish commercial aircraft.

The IAA’s CAIRDE 2000 Air Traffic Management (ATM) system is based on the Thales Eurocat 2000 ATM system. U.S. suppliers should note that Bombardier Aerospace is located in Belfast, Northern Ireland and initial queries related to that company should be directed to U.S. Commercial Service London.


There are no barriers to importing aerospace equipment into Ireland, but exporters selling aerospace-related products and equipment in the EU must conform, where applicable, to the WEEE and RoHS directives. An aircraft operator involved in commercial air transport must be the holder of a valid Air Operator Certificate (AOC) issued by the Irish Aviation Authority and a valid Air Carrier Operating Licence (ACOL) issued by the Commission for Aviation Regulation.

Trade Events/Associations

There are no significant Irish trade events in the aerospace sector. DAA and IAA executives attend international aviation conferences such as ATC Global and Passenger Terminal Expo to learn of the latest developments. Irish agents and distributors would also visit international exhibitions to identify and source the latest innovative products.

Federation of Aerospace Enterprises in Ireland

U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information:

Mr. Padraig O’Connor
Commercial Specialist - Aerospace

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