Eirtech Aviation eyes further expansion as Italian hangar opens
Shannon-based Eirtech Aviation is expanding its operations to Italy and will begin painting aircraft from a hangar at Rome's main airport next month.
Eirtech will use a hangar at Fiumicino Airport that was previously occupied by Alitalia. It will be the fourth hangar in use by Eirtech, which last year painted 200 narrow and wide- body aircraft.
The chief executive of Eirtech, Niall Cunningham, said that the expansion into Rome marks the "next stage" of the company's development.
He said the firm wants to ensure it can provide services to clients from "geographically advantageous locations".
"Providing multiple location options for clients gives Eirtech Aviation a competitive advantage as moving aircraft for painting and maintenance can be a costly exercise," he said.
The company, which employs about 24 people, began operating a hangar in the Czech Republic last year. Eirtech's clients include airlines such as Lufthansa, SAS, Etihad and Qatar Airways.
It also has a hangar at Dublin Airport and an engineering and technical services office in Dubai.
This year, Eirtech secured a major contract with US-based low-cost carrier Southwest to provide an engineering solution that was mandated by the US Federal Aviation Authority.
Eirtech has been shipping the required kits to Southwest's Dallas headquarters in recent weeks and sent an engineering team to the city to help oversee installation.
The Irish firm also secured a contract this summer to repaint a fleet of 18 aircraft for Azerbaijan Airlines.
Eirtech was originally founded in 1999 as the aircraft painting and interior refurbishment business of Lufthansa Technik. It was bought out by management in 2009.
Mr Cunningham owns 75pc of Eirtech Holdings, with operations director Peter Collins owning 25pc.
Accounts for Eirtech Aviation show that it made a pre-tax profit of €374,000 last year, up from €239,000 a year earlier.