Tuesday 18 September 2018

Aer Southeast ready to launch Waterford-to-UK flights after delays

The routes to the UK would be the first scheduled service at Waterford Airport since 2016.
The routes to the UK would be the first scheduled service at Waterford Airport since 2016.
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Aer Southeast, a small regional airline that began selling tickets last year for services from Waterford without having a licence to do so, plans to launch routes from the city this year.

The routes to the UK would be the first scheduled service at Waterford Airport since 2016.

Aer Southeast - which is fronted by Icelandic businessman Einar Adalsteinsson, who now lives in Denmark - tried to launch services from Waterford to destinations including London Luton, Birmingham and Manchester.

However, the Commission for Aviation Regulation stopped the airline selling tickets because it did not have a tour operator's licence. People who had already paid for tickets were refunded.

Aer Southeast has announced that it now plans to launch services from Waterford this year, saying in a statement that it's now part of a company that has its own air operator's certificate (AOC).

"It's been a long road, but a lot of work has been done behind the scenes in order to secure the operation," it said.

"Due to circumstances out of our control, which included a long period of time when Waterford Airport was in deep discussions with another operator, [it] meant that we were not in a position to progress on this matter.

"However, those things have been resolved, and Aer Southeast has now picked up where it left off."

It's not known at this stage which AOC that Aer Southeast is relying on. However, Mr Adalsteinsson is also a director of Copenhagen-based Backbone Aviation, a small air services firm that has a Danish AOC. It ceased all operations in January because of its dire financial situation. Backbone Aviation has just announced that it has been acquired by a group of Irish and American investors.

The latest set of accounts for Backbone Aviation show that in 2016 it lost a "significant contract and earnings" related to a helicopter contract in Greenland. Another contract had not performed as expected, while in 2017 it lost another significant contract.

Powdair, a Dublin-based "virtual" airline, has also taken a stake in Backbone.

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