Monday 23 April 2018

What recession? Businessmen are still taking to skies in private jets and flashy helicopters

Thomas Molloy

DOZENS of Irish companies still own a private jet or a helicopter despite the economic downturn, according to an analysis of the Irish Aviation Authority's records.

While many of the country's most prominent businessmen appear to have registered their airplanes outside the Republic, several smaller businesses such as Grannagh-based Dawn Meats; another Waterford-based food company Organic Fruit and Vegetables of Ireland; and Castleknock, Dublin-based developer Glyde Court Developments all own planes registered here.

The low-profile Dublin-based businessman Patrick Doyle (37) is another aircraft owner through his company NMWAA which owns a powerful Bombardier CL-600-2B16 jet that is capable of flying long distances and is often used by airlines as well as wealthy individuals.

Among the prominent businesses to own helicopters are the Quinn Group, which owns a Canadian-made Pratt & Whitney helicopter, and gambling mogul Richard Quirke, whose Bray-based Dublin Pool and Jukebox Company owns a Bell helicopter.

The Quinn Group is trying to sell the helicopter but a deal is probably some months away, a spokesman said yesterday.

Despite the downturn in construction, builders remain particularly enthusiastic owners of helicopters. Among the companies that own a chopper are Limerick-based A&G Thomond Builders, which owns a Robinson R44 II helicopter.

Cork-based Forestbrook Developments, which belongs to Rosscarbery-based Michael and Mary Hayes, also owns a Robinson which was bought with a loan from AIB, according to accounts filed with the Company Registration Office.

Other companies to own Robinson helicopters include L Behan and Sons, which has been struck off and belonged to Rathcoole-based Laurence Behan, his wife Mary and his son.

Kerry-based G&H Homes, which has suffered problems in the past, owns two helicopters.

The company, which belongs to Spectra Photo owner Xavier McAuliffe, owns two Bell 407 helicopters which were bought with loans from Bank of Scotland. The helicopters can often be seen at Mr McAuliffe's Lyrath Hotel just outside Kilkenny.

Ronan and Michael Mannion, of Athlone-based R&M Quarries, are also members of the flying elite, owning a Lycoming helicopter, according to the Irish Aviation Authority's records.

Galway-based New World Plant, which belongs to John Dempsey and his sons Stuart and Paul, is the registered owner of a flashy and expensive Eurocopter as well as a Robinson.

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