Aer Arann entered an exciting new era last week when its new chief executive took over at the helm of the Galway-based carrier.
Paul Schütz joined Aer Arann in 2006 as chief financial officer and company secretary. He has more than 18 years experience in the airline industry including senior finance and general management roles. He is a management accountant and a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
He began his airline industry career with Ryanair before moving to British Airways as Finance Analyst. He went on to become director of finance and administration in Virgin Express and then moved to BWIA West Indies Airways initially as chief financial officer and later becoming joint general manager. He later joined Eirjet as managing director in 2004 before he was recruited to join Aer Arann two years later.
Mr Schütz was raised and educated in Limerick. He is 42 years of age and is married with three children.
Aer Arann’s outgoing chief executive Garry Cullen, who is retiring, has joined the board of the airline as a non-executive director.
“These are highly significant appointments for Aer Arann, but also for Irish aviation and the Irish consumer,” said company chairman Padraig O Ceidigh. “It is vital that we continue to bring much needed competition and air access to an Irish market that is being increasingly dominated by the larger carriers,” he continued.
“These two exceptional executives have concluded a successful transition period that included the completion of a cost reduction programme that has established a solid foundation for the future of Aer Arann”, said Mr O Ceidigh, “and we can now look to 2009 with confidence in our ability to continue to offer vital air access to Irish communities”, he continued.
According to the newly appointed chief executive Aer Arann faces two major challenges in the New Year.
“The first is the state of the economy and the impact this is having on aviation and this is a major issue for the air transport industry globally,” said Paul Schütz.
“The second is a national issue and it’s the deliberate attempt that is being made to monopolise the Irish market and restrict the growth of air services from the regions”.
“As a country we learned years ago that airline monopolies don’t serve the consumer and that competition is necessary,” he continued. “Now in Aer Arann we find ourselves as the standard bearer for genuine competition and air access for all.”
“I believe we have the structure, the fleet and the route network to perform strongly in the year ahead and I am determined that Aer Arann will meet the challenges of the market and deliver a real alternative for the Irish airline passenger.”
“We will continue to be flexible and innovative in our approach and we will continue to offer quality and cost effective services that link regional centres directly with urban centres and larger hub airports and by performing to our strengths we will stimulate travel, assist business and aid job creation.”
That is our goal and it attainable because both the business and leisure traveller want two things that we offer, direct access and a competitive alternative,” Mr Schütz concluded.
Padraig O Ceidigh paid tribute to both Garry Cullen and Paul Schütz saying that both were ‘top class executives’ who were proven experts in their field.
“We were extremely lucky to convince Garry Cullen not to retire two and a half years ago and to persuade him to lend his unmatched expertise and ability as a chief executive to Aer Arann” said Mr O Ceidigh.
“He was an inspirational leader and everyone in Aer Arann has benefited from his many years of experience in Ireland and internationally, and I am particularly delighted that he has agreed, despite his retirement, to join the board as a non-executive director so that we can continue to draw on his unparalleled experience and knowledge and his unique insight,” Mr O Ceidigh concluded.