An ex-Ryanair director has been appointed chair of regional carrier Stobart Air

Aviation veteran Conor McCarthy also co-founded one of the largest low-cost carriers in Asia.

By Conor McMahon Reporter, Fora

A FORMER RYANAIR director has been appointed to head the board of regional airline Stobart Air.

Aviation veteran Conor McCarthy, who was once director of group operations at the budget carrier, will take up the position of non-executive chair.

McCarthy has nearly four decades of aviation industry experience under his belt. He is currently managing director of Drumcondra-based PlaneConsult.

As well as working for Ryanair, he previously served as chief executive of the now-defunct Aer Lingus Commuter subsidiary.

He is also well-known in the industry for co-founding AirAsia, a low-cost carrier that started operating in 2001. The company has gone on to become one of Asia’s largest budget airlines, carrying 56.6 million passengers in 2016.

In 2009, McCarthy set up aircraft maintenance firm Dublin Aerospace, where he will stay on as executive chair. He was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011 for his work at the multimillion-euro company.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Stobart Air managing director Graeme Buchanan said McCarthy has “a wealth of experience and global aviation”. McCarthy himself said it was “a real privilege” to be asked to join the company.

Stobart Air, which employs 570 people, was spun out of Aer Arann and operates flights on behalf of Aer Lingus Regional.

It serves 43 routes in 11 European countries from bases in the UK and Ireland. Its Irish routes include short-haul flights from Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Kerry and Donegal airports.

In June of last year, the company announced plans to invest €25 million in new aircraft and launch a recruitment drive to hire 60 new flight crew members.

The airline carried more than 1.4 million passengers in 2016. It hopes to hit the 2.5 million passenger-mark by the end of this year.

Sign up to our newsletter to receive a regular digest of Fora’s top articles delivered to your inbox.