FlyBe Bombardier Dash8-Q400 Photo: FlyBe

LONDON – Irish aviation maintenance company Dublin Aerospace Group announced it has based Exeter Aerospace at the location of the former FlyBe maintenance services at Exeter Airport. FlyBe (BE), which in 1985 was called JEA, pushed to have Exeter as its central hub, or rather as its headquarters.

The company carried 160,000 passengers and had a turnover of nine million pounds. JEA’s most significant break to the regional market came in 1997, with the announcement of a franchise agreement with Air France. Under the agreement, JEA would operate flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Toulouse and Lyon.

During that period, JEA had a variety of aircraft in their fleet made up of 12 British Aerospace 146, four Fokker F27, and two Short 360.

Flybe Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 G-JEDP seen departing runway 15 at Birmingham (EGBB, BHX). Picture: Thomas Saunders.

Statement from Dublin Aerospace Group CEO

Commenting on the launch, Conor McCarthy, Chairman & CEO of Dublin Aerospace Group said “We are thrilled to have made Exeter the home of our first UK MRO (Maintenance Repair and Overhaul) Centre.”

“The availability of the Hangars and Workshops there, combined with a phenomenal pool of local aviation and engineering talent, makes this a hugely attractive location for us. Dublin Aerospace Group has always been a huge supporter of Apprenticeships and Traineeships.”

“While 2020 has been unprecedented in many ways, we believe that it is vital to keep our focus on the longer term. Our intention is to continue the great work that has been done locally to develop young talent for aerospace and thereby continue the proud aviation tradition here in the South of England.”

Exeter Airport Photo: Exeter Airport

Dublin Aerospace Wants to Expand the Family

Dublin Aerospace operates an overhaul facility in Dublin specializing in Boeing 737 and Airbus A320-A330. The company now wants to complete the range by adding the E170/190, the ATR72, and the Bombardier Dash 8/Q400 family.

Conor McCarthy said, “Already, we have acquired all of the tooling and equipment we require for these aircraft types and have taken possession of the modern and purpose-built Exeter Hangars and Workshops.”

“We are now in the process of applying for UK CAA and EASA (EU Aviation Safety Authority) approvals for Exeter Aerospace and have already commenced hiring our initial group of aerospace engineers and technicians.”

The Exeter Aerospace Employment Model is unique and includes flexible ‘annualized hours’ working to match the high degree of seasonality in Aircraft Overhaul. “We shall also be applying our unique Profit Sharing approach for our team which pays out 10% of profits to team members every quarter. This enables all the team to benefit from their hard work and flexibility”, McCarthy added.

Embraer E170. Photo: Embraer

Exeter Aerospace Hiring for 100 Vacant Positions

In time, Exeter Aerospace plans six Aircraft Overhaul Bays in addition to a range of support shops and test facilities. Exeter Aerospace seeks to hire for 100 vacant positions immediately. This number will grow in line with the business as airlines and aircraft return to the skies over the coming months and years.

Over the next three-four years, the overall aim is to have over 250 aviation professionals working at Exeter Aerospace.

In addition, the business plans to establish strong Aircraft Engineering Apprenticeship and Aircraft Mechanic Traineeship programs in partnership with the UK Government and Exeter College. This would see the company follow in the footsteps of sister company, Dublin Aerospace, which recently announced that it will be hiring an additional 29 apprentices from next month.

Andrew Bell, CEO of RCAs, said: “We are delighted to welcome Exeter Aerospace. This recognizes and reactivates some of our specialized local skills and facilities and we look forward to working with them and supporting their exciting plans for growth”

ATR72-600 Photo: ATR

FlyBe Bombardier Dash8-Q400. Photo: FlyBe