Air travel start-ups supported by a €2 million programme whose backers include safety regulator the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) are close to commercialisation.
The IAA, aircraft manufacturer Boeing, Shannon Group's International Aviation Services Centre, State agency Enterprise Ireland and Dublin City University have put more than €2 million into Propeller Shannon, a programme to support new aerospace businesses.
Propeller Shannon’s backers hope two companies supported by the programme will shortly take key steps towards commercialising the products on which they have been working.
One, Blockaviation, is developing a system to centralise aircraft records detailing maintenance and other crucial information. Every aircraft owner needs these documents, but many of them are stored in different locations.
According to Blockaviation co-founder John Roberts, the company is developing a global register for this material to allow owners to get the information in one place, with potentially huge savings for the industry.
“Blockaviation was successful in its pitch to Propeller Shannon and this afforded the company a small investment, which helped fund the set-up costs and research,” Mr Roberts said.
About 200 companies from 40 countries applied for Propeller Shannon's 2019 programme
He added that, most importantly, Propeller Shannon gave Blockaviation access to skilled aviation professionals in the Republic, allowing it to test its ideas against “real-world experience”.
Three pilots established a second Propeller Shannon company, Frequency, which recently began testing a product designed to simplify airline communications with an international carrier.
John Perry, Frequency's chief executive, explained that on a typical flight, a pilot deals with eight communications systems. The company aims to replace these with one internet-based software application.
The European Space Agency has given Frequency cash and technical support. Mr Perry said that Propeller Shannon helped the company get funding to develop its software.
About 200 companies from 40 countries applied for Propeller Shannon’s 2019 programme. The organisation chose 12 to take part. Successful applicants get cash, offices in Shannon Airport’s gateway hub and training.
IAA chief executive Peter Kearney said that the organisation continued to support job creation in aviation.
“This programme aligns with our commitment to maintaining our position as a leading investor in safety and innovation in the Irish aviation industry,” he added.